Magazine article USA TODAY

Poor Memory and Slow Walk Predict Dementia

Magazine article USA TODAY

Poor Memory and Slow Walk Predict Dementia

Article excerpt

Nearly one in 10 older adults meet criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years. The study was led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.

The new test diagnoses motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR). Testing for the newly described syndrome relies on measuring gait speed (our manner of walking) and asking a few simple questions about a patient's cognitive abilities, both of which take just seconds. The test is not reliant on the latest medical technology and can be done in a clinical setting, diagnosing people in the early stages of the dementia process. Early diagnosis is critical because it allows time to identify and possibly treat the underlying causes of the disease, which may delay or even prevent the onset of dementia in some cases.

"In many clinical and community settings, people don't have access to the sophisticated tests--biomarker assays, cognitive tests, or neuroimaging studies--used to diagnose people at risk for developing dementia," says Joe Verghese, professor in the Department of Neurology at Einstein and chief of geriatrics at Einstein and Montefiore. …

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