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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2007;114(10):1355-61. Epub 2007 Jul 4.

Gait and posture impairment, parkinsonism and cognitive decline in older people.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Our objective was to examine the frequency of gait and posture impairment and parkinsonism in 3 waves of the Canadians Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) and to determine their relationship to the development of cognitive impairment-not dementia (CIND) and dementia. A secondary analysis of a Canadian population-based cohort study was performed. People 65 years of age and older without cognitive impairment or dementia underwent examination for the presence of gait or posture impairment (GPI) or parkinsonism (based on the presence of 2/3 signs among resting tremor, rigidity or bradykinesia), both defined by a clinical examination. Risk for development of cognitive impairment or dementia was examined at 5 and 10 year follow up in pre-specified logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, education and in separate models, frailty. The frequency of GPI ranged from 25 to 30% in cognitively unimpaired to 46-53% in CIND and demented subjects. Parkinsonism was more common with increasing cognitive impairment at each wave of the CSHA. Both GPI and parkinsonism predicted cognitive decline. Frailty reduced, but did not eliminate the impact of these motor measures and was itself a significant predictor of cognitive decline. In conclusion, motor impairment and frailty are common in older people and are associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. GPI is common in CIND, while GPI and parkinsonism are both common in dementia.

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