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Slow walking speed and memory complaints can predict dementia
Date:7/25/2014

isions/geriatrics/">geriatrics at Einstein and Montefiore, and senior author of the Neurology paper. "Our assessment method could enable many more people to learn if they're at risk for dementia, since it avoids the need for complex testing and doesn't require that the test be administered by a neurologist. The potential payoff could be tremendousnot only for individuals and their families, but also in terms of healthcare savings for society. All that's needed to assess MCR is a stopwatch and a few questions, so primary care physicians could easily incorporate it into examinations of their older patients."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 5.3 million Americansabout 1 in 9 people age 65 and overhave Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia. That number is expected to more than double by 2050 due to population aging.

"As a young researcher, I examined hundreds of patients and noticed that if an older person was walking slowly, there was a good chance that his cognitive tests were also abnormal," said Dr. Verghese, who is also the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology at Einstein. "This gave me the idea that perhaps we could use this simple clinical signhow fast someone walksto predict who would develop dementia. In a 2002 New England Journal of Medicine study, we reported that abnormal gait patterns accurately predict whether people will go on to develop dementia. MCR improves on the slow gait concept by evaluating not only patients' gait speed but also whether they have cognitive complaints."

The Neurology paper reported on the prevalence of MCR among 26,802 adults without dementia or disability aged 60 years and older enrolled in 22 studies in 17 countries. A significant number of adults9.7 percentmet the criteria for MCR (i.e., abnormally slow gait and cognitive complaints). While the syndrome was equally common in men and women, highly educat
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Contact: Kim Newman
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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