Scientists from National Institute on Aging found a decline in both memory and gait speed with aging linked to a higher risk of dementia in older people.
The research is published in JAMA Network Open and was conducted by Qu Tian et al.
In the study, the team reviewed 6 studies including 8699 participants from the United States and Europe.
Participants were 60 years or older, had an initial gait speed of more than 0.6 m/s, with repeated measures of memory and gait speed before dementia diagnosis during a follow-up of 6.6 to 14.5 years.
The team found that compared with usual agers, participants with only memory decline had a 2.2 to 4.6 times higher risk for developing dementia.
Those with only gait decline had 2.1 to 3.6 times higher risk. Those with dual decline had 5.2 to 11.7 times the risk for developing dementia.
These findings suggest that dual decline of memory and gait speed was linked to an increased risk of developing dementia among older individuals.
They suggest that older adults without dementia with parallel declines in memory and gait are associated with a high risk of developing dementia and maybe a group to target for prevention.
Why dual decline is associated with an elevated risk of dementia and whether these individuals progress to dementia through specific mechanisms should be examined by future studies.
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