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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Mar;53(3):410-5.

Executive function correlates with walking speed in older persons: the InCHIANTI study.

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1
Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To study the association between performance on psychological tests of executive function and performance on lower extremity tasks with different attentional demands in a large sample of nondemented, older adults.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Community-based.

PARTICIPANTS:

Nine hundred twenty-six persons aged 65 and older, without dementia, stroke, parkinsonism, visual impairment, or current treatment with neuroleptics, enrolled in a large epidemiological study.

MEASUREMENTS:

Trail Making Test (TMT) parts A and B and two performance-based measures of lower extremity function that require different executive/attentional-demanding skills: walking speed on a 4-m course at usual pace and walking speed on a 7-m obstacle course at fast pace. A difference score (Delta TMT), obtained by subtracting time to perform part A from time to perform part B of the TMT, was used as an indicator of executive function. Based on Delta TMT, subjects were divided into poor performance, intermediate performance, and good performance.

RESULTS:

After adjustment, no association between Delta TMT and 4-m course usual-pace walking speed was found. Participants with poor Delta TMT and with intermediate Delta TMT performance were more likely to be in the lowest tertile for 7-m obstacle course walking speed.

CONCLUSION:

In nondemented older persons, executive function is independently associated with tasks of lower extremity function that require high attentional demand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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