Slow walk and memory issues may predict dementia risk

London: A combination of slow walking and difficulties with memory could be associated with double the risk of developing dementia in later life, a study suggests. People with Motoric Cognitive Risk (MCR)—a syndrome that involves slow walking speed and self-reported memory difficulties—are also at increased risk of cognitive impairment and experience higher mortality rates, experts found.

The study team from the University of Edinburgh hopes the findings will lead to walking speed being routinely assessed when patients are examined for early signs of dementia. Researchers studied the data of almost 50,000 people aged 60 years and older with MCR across 15 studies.

Cognitive Impairment

A participant met the criteria for MCR if they walked significantly slower than people of a similar age and sex, and had noticed issues with their memory. Experts found that people with MCR were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and were at a 76 percent increased risk of cognitive impairment—trouble remembering, concentrating, or learning new information—than people without MCR.

 The team also found that the risk of mortality for people with MCR was 49 percent higher than for those without it, and the risk of falls was 38 percent greater. Researchers caution that because this was a pooling of observational studies, it was not possible to establish whether MCR causes these outcomes or is simply a risk factor for them.

(Courtesy: Neuro-Science News)

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