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Gait in ageing and associated dementias; its relationship with cognition

Research group Swaab
Publication year 2006
Published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Authors D.F. Swaab, E. Scherder, L. Eggermont, M. van Heuvelen, Y. Kamsma, M. de Greef, R. van Wijck, T. Mulder,
The order of authors may deviate from the original publication due to temporary technical issues.

The focus of this review is on the close relationship between gait and cognition in ageing and associated dementias. This close relationship is supported by epidemiological studies, clinical studies of older people with and without dementia that focused on the intensity of the physical activity, clinical studies with older persons without dementia examining a relationship between gait and specific cognitive processes, and human and animal experimental studies examining a neural basis for such a relationship. Despite these findings, most studies with patients with dementia focus exclusively on the relationship between cognition and dementia, with relatively few addressing the relationship between gait and dementia. However, subtle disturbances in gait can be observed in ageing and in (preclinical) subtypes of dementia that are not known for prominent motor disturbances, i.e. Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular Cognitive Impairment No Dementia, Subcortical Ischaemic Vascular Dementia, Frontotemporal Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Frontotemporal Dementia, supporting a close relationship between gait and cognition. The relationship between gait and cognition is weakened by the few available intervention studies that examine the effects of walking on cognition in patients with (preclinical) dementia. These studies report equivocal results, which will be discussed. Finally, suggestions for future research will be made.

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