Gait variability at fast-pace walking speed: a biomarker of mild cognitive impairment?

O Beauchet, G Allali, C Launay, F R Herrmann, C Annweiler
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2013, 17 (3): 235-9

BACKGROUND: The interpretation of the increase in stride-to-stride variability of stride time (STV) regarding the evolution of cognitive deficits across the dementia spectrum is matter of debate.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare STV at usual and fast-pace walking speeds of MCI patients with that of cognitively healthy individuals (CHI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with mild dementia, while considering the effects of potential confounders.

METHODS: STV while walking at usual and fast-pace walking speeds was recorded with the GAITRite® system from 116 older adults (mean age 75.6±6.5 years; 55.2% female) divided into 3 groups according to their cognitive status (44 CHI, 39 MCI patients and 33 AD patients with mild dementia).

RESULTS: The full adjusted multiple linear regression models showed that high STV was associated with slow gait speed at usual-pace walking speed (P=0.002) and with the MCI status at fast-pace walking speed (P=0.015).

CONCLUSIONS: High STV at fast-pace walking speed was a specific gait disturbance of MCI patients in the sample of studied participants, and thus could be used in the future as a specific biomarker of MCI patients.

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