Recent reports indicate that gait dysfunction can occur early in the course of cognitive decline suggesting that motor and cognitive functions in older adults may share common underlying brain substrates, pathological processes, and risk factors.
This study was designed to report the association between gait and cognition in older adults in USA and the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Materials and Methods:
Literature review of gait and cognition studies conducted in Bronx County, USA as well as preliminary results from the Kerala-Einstein study (Kozhikode city, Kerala).
Review of published studies based in the Bronx shows that both clinical and quantitative gait dysfunction are common in older adults with cognitive impairment. Furthermore, clinical and quantitative gait dysfunction in cognitively normal older adults was a strong predictor of future cognitive decline and dementia. Our preliminary study in Kozhikode city shows that timed gait is slower in older adults diagnosed with dementia and mild cognitive impairment syndrome compared to healthy older controls.
A strong association between gait and cognition is seen in seniors in USA as well as Kerala. A better understanding of the relationship between gait and cognition may help improve current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches globally.