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The Relationship Between Slower Pace & Dementia

New research conducted a study of thousands of older adults in several countries to determine if walking pace is in any way related to dementia & Alzheimers. Researchers who attended the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen presented several studies focused on the markers related to early stages of dementia. They found that the pace at which  older people walk may provide a reliable clue about how well their brain is aging and could eventually allow doctors to determine whether they are at risk of Alzheimer’s, researchers have found.

Scientists reported that there is a connection between dementia and sense of smell as a way to help identify the onset of dementia as well as the potential use of eye scans. Studies found that there may also be a link between sleep disorders and the onset of dementia.

However, the study cautioned that a slower walking speed is not sufficient to determine whether a person has pre-dementia when examined by itself as there can be other common age-related problems that may affect balance and gait.  While there is evidence that a slower gait does occur in early dementia, it isn’t necessarily a certain marker.

The study focused on 4,812 people over the course of 12 years to see how many people developed dementia. Results showed that nearly 10% of those studied had slower walking habits and lapses in cognitive abilities and that those who were walking more slowly also had poorer results in cognitive ability tests.

As you watch your parents and loved ones age, it’s important to monitor many markers and not focus in on one aspect of their health. If you are concerned that your loved one may be developing dementia, schedule a visit with their healthcare professional.