A fresh study could help predict dementia cases.
The body typically slows down as we get older, but a recent study suggests that our walking speed has a lot to do with our mental condition, not simply our physical ability.
As you get older, walking more slowly could indicate that you’re acquiring dementia.
This is the core finding of a large Australian and US study of over 16,800 seniors, which found that a loss in walking speed and cognition are substantial predictors of a dementia diagnosis later on.
Simple memory and walking-speed testing, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, would allow doctors, clinicians, and nurses to detect a person’s dementia risk and offer preventive treatments early on.
People with a slowing gait and memory problems, according to Velandai Srikanth, one of the report’s authors and the head of Monash University’s National Centre for Healthy Ageing, should be considered a target group for future treatments.
“They’d be the ones to make sure their blood pressure is under control, that they’re physically active, that they eat well, that they maintain social connections… “All the nice things that keep dementia at bay,” Srikanth remarked.
“At the present, we don’t have many good medicines, but if they do emerge in the future, we’ll know who to target with such treatments.”
While earlier research has linked cognitive decline to an increased chance of dementia, this is the first time that both walking and memory tests have been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
To aid in prevention, new tests will be developed to assess walking speed.
Dementia impacts speech and physical activities
The study from Monash University and the Healthy Ageing Centre reveals that dementia impacts more than just memory, and that prior studies linking dementia to changes in voice and speech patterns are correct.
The findings of the study, according to Amy Brodtmann, a neurologist and Dementia Australia’s honorary medical adviser, demonstrate dementia affects multiple regions of the brain.
“Our reaction circuits are vastly different from our memory pathways,” she explained. “This highlights the fact that dementia affects numerous parts of the brain.”
This would change how dementia is diagnosed and how physicians assess and manage dementia patients.
“We know memory loss is a concern for persons with dementia, but what if they can’t get to the bathroom in time?” They’re unable to walk down the street? It refers to issues of independence,” Brodtmann explained.
The study, one of the largest in its area, was conducted in collaboration with researchers from ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly, a significant clinical trial conducted in Australia and the United States between 2010 and 2017. (ASPREE).
Over a six-year period, the walking pace of approximately 17,000 adults over 65, largely from Australia but also from the United States, was tested every two years, along with cognitive tests including memory and verbal fluency tests.
Those whose gait deteriorated by even 0.05 meters per second each year and who also had some cognitive decline were more likely to develop dementia by the conclusion of the research.
Sampath Kumar, 75, had his memory and walking speed tested to see if he was at danger of dementia. Kumar is in good health, but he has noticed that he and his friends have gotten more forgetful, and he is doing everything he can to avoid any brain damage.
He eats well, keeps a social routine, and tries to keep his intellect stimulated.
He stated, “I read your newspaper every day.” “In addition, I read two or three Indian newspapers on my laptop.” I’ve got my sudoku. I practice those things every day, and if I’m winning, I’ll play three times.”