Slow Walking May Signal Alzheimer's
When an older person's walking pace slows, it could be an indication that they are developing Alzheimer's disease.
A new study, published online in Neurology, found that a slow walking speed is associated with higher amounts of amyloid, one of the abnormal proteins in the brain linked to Alzheimer's.
Researchers from France studied 128 people aged 70 and older who did not have dementia, but were considered at high risk because they had some memory problems. The patients underwent scans to measure amyloid plaques in their brains and took a series of tests to assess their thinking and memory skills -- as well as how well they could complete everyday activities.
Participants’ walking speed was measured with a standard test that times how fast people can walk about 13 feet at their usual pace.
The results showed an association between slow walking speed and amyloid in several areas of the brain, including a region called the putamen, which is involved in motor function.
However, the authors of this study emphasized that it only indicated an association -- it does not prove that amyloid plaques cause a slower walking speed.
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