Study: Changes in how someone walks could predict decline in memory and thinking

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ROCHESTER, Minn. – Researchers at Mayo Clinic believe that changes in how someone walks over time could help predict if they will develop memory loss.

The study analyzed gait, which is the manner in which someone walks that includes everything from stride length to speed, even arm swing. They found that changes in those parameters were associated with decline in memory, thinking and language skills.

“The goal will be to identify these individuals that develop these changes through time and potentially do something to prevent the decline if possible,” explains Rodolfo Savica, M.D. a Mayo Clinic Neurologist and lead author of the study. “Unfortunately, we do not have medication to do so in this moment. But we know, on the other hand, that physical exercise is something that we can be entertaining to try to improve our cognitive decline in the future.”

Researchers examined medical records of more than 3,000 Olmsted County residents between the ages of 70-89 who are part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project.

 

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