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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Oct;65(10):1093-100. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq111. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Executive function, memory, and gait speed decline in well-functioning older adults.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3545, USA. watsonn@edc.pitt.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In community-dwelling older adults, global cognitive function predicts longitudinal gait speed decline. Few prospective studies have evaluated whether specific executive cognitive deficits in aging may account for gait slowing over time.

METHODS:

Multiple cognitive tasks were administered at baseline in 909 participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study Cognitive Vitality Substudy (mean age 75.2 ± 2.8 years, 50.6% women, 48.4% black). Usual gait speed (m/s) over 20 minutes was assessed at baseline and over a 5-year follow-up.

RESULTS:

Poorer performance in each cognitive task was cross-sectionally associated with slower gait independent of demographic and health characteristics. In longitudinal analyses, each 1 SD poorer performance in global function, verbal memory, and executive function was associated with 0.003-0.004 m/s greater gait speed decline per year (p =.03-.05) after adjustment for baseline gait speed, demographic, and health characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this well-functioning cohort, several cognitive tasks were associated with gait speed cross-sectionally and predicted longitudinal gait speed decline. These data are consistent with a shared pathology underlying cognitive and motor declines but do not suggest that specific executive cognitive deficits account for slowing of usual gait in aging.

PMID:
20581339
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2949334
Free PMC Article
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