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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Dec;71(12):1616-1623. Epub 2016 Apr 10.

An Evaluation of the Longitudinal, Bidirectional Associations Between Gait Speed and Cognition in Older Women and Men.

Author information

1
Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. john.best@ubc.ca.
2
Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
3
Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, British Columbia, Canada.
4
Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
5
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
6
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco.
7
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis.
8
Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland.
9
Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of California, San Francisco.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few cohort studies have examined longitudinal associations between age-related changes in cognition and physical performance. Further, whether these associations differ for men versus women or can be attributed to differences in physical activity (PA) is unknown.

METHODS:

Participants were 2,876 initially well-functioning community-dwelling older adults (aged 70-79 years at baseline; 52% female; 39% black) studied over a 9-year period. Usual gait speed, self-reported PA, and two cognitive measures-Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) and Mini-Modified Mental State examination (3MS)-were assessed years 0 (ie, baseline), 4, and 9.

RESULTS:

Early decline between years 0 and 4 in gait speed predicted later decline between years 4 and 9 in performance on the 3MS (β = 0.10, p = .004) and on the DSST (β = 0.16, p < .001). In contrast, the associations between early decline in cognition and later decline in gait speed were weaker and were non-significant after correcting for multiple comparisons (β = 0.08, p = .019 for 3MS and β = .06, p = .051 for DSST). All associations were similar for women and men and were unaltered when accounting for PA levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results indicate declining gait speed as a precursor to declining cognitive functioning, and suggest a weaker reciprocal process among older women and men.

KEYWORDS:

Cognition; Gait; Physical activity; Physical function.

PMID:
27069098
PMCID:
PMC5106856
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/glw066
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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