Walking Speed Could Be Predictor of Dementia

(Science Daily) A study involving nearly 27,000 older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years. The study was published online in Neurologyå¨, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

åÊThe new test diagnoses motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR). Testing for the newly described syndrome relies on measuring gait speed (our manner of walking) and asking a few simple questions about a patient’s cognitive abilities, both of which take just seconds. The test is not reliant on the latest medical technology and can be done in a clinical setting, diagnosing people in the early stages of the dementia process. Early diagnosis is critical because it allows time to identify and possibly treat the underlying causes of the disease, which may delay or even prevent the onset of dementia in some cases.
In an earlier post publisher on our blog we noted that dance therapy could be helpful in making people walk faster. Dancing eases hip or knee pain and helps older adults move better, according to a small Saint Louis University study.

‰ÛÏAfter dancing, over several months they reported less pain and were able to walk faster,‰Û said Jean Krampe, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University and lead author of the article. The findings are significant because older adults who walk too slowly are more likely to fall, become hospitalized or require care from others, Krampe said. ‰ÛÏDoctors and nurses recognize gait speed as the sixth vital sign that can help us predict adverse outcomes for older adults,‰Û Krampe said. So given that, what if we helped older adults walk faster? Would the results of the MCR be the same? Who know? My suggestion, play it safe and move faster!