Measuring gait speed to better identify prodromal dementia
Slow gait speed has been shown to predict incident dementia and cognitive decline in older individuals. We aimed to summarize the evidence concerning the association of slow gait speed with cognitive decline and dementia, and discuss the possible shared pathways leading to cognitive and motor impairments, under the unifying hypothesis that body and mind are intimately connected. This is a scoping review supported by a systematic search of the literature, performed on PubMed and Web of Science.
... nd Web of Science. Longitudinal studies providing information on the role of gait speed in the prediction of cognitive decline and dementia in cognitively intact people and in those with initial cognitive impairment were eligible. Of 39 studies selected, including overall 57,456 participants, 33 reported a significant association between gait speed and cognitive outcomes, including dementia. Neurodegenerative pathology and cerebrovascular burden may damage cerebral areas involved in both cognitive functions and motor control. At the same time, systemic conditions, characterized by higher cardiorespiratory, and metabolic and inflammatory burden, can affect a number of organs and systems involved in motor functions, including the brain, having ultimately an impact on cognition. The interplay of body and mind seems relevant during the development of cognitive decline and dementia. The measurement of gait speed may improve the detection of prodromal dementia and cognitive impairment in individuals with and without initial cognitive deficits. The potential applicability of such a measure in both clinical and research settings points at the importance of expanding our knowledge about the common underlying mechanisms of cognitive and motor decline.