Concurrent Indicators of Gait Velocity and Variability Are Associated with 25-Year Cognitive Change: A Retrospective Longitudinal Investigation

Date

2017-02

Authors

MacDonald, Stuart W.S.
Hundza, Sandra
Love, Janet A.
DeCarlo, Correne A.
Halliday, Drew W. R.
Brewster, Paul W. H.
Lukyn, Timothy V.
Camicioli, Richard
Dixon, Roger A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

Abstract

Background/Objectives: Physical function indicators, including gait velocity, stride time and step length, are linked to neural and cognitive function, morbidity and mortality. Whereas cross-sectional associations are well documented, far less is known about long-term patterns of cognitive change as related to objective indicators of mobility-related physical function. Methods: Using data from the Victoria Longitudinal Study, a long-term investigation of biological and health aspects of aging and cognition, we examined three aspects of cognition-physical function linkages in 121 older adults. First, we examined a simple marker of physical function (3 m timed-walk) as a predictor of cross-sectional differences and up to 25-year change for four indicators of cognitive function. Second, we tested associations between two markers of gait function derived from the GAITRite system (velocity and stride-time variability) and differences and change in cognition. Finally, we evaluated how increasing cognitive load during GAITRite assessment influenced the associations between gait and cognition. Results: The simple timed-walk measure, commonly used in clinical and research settings, was a minor predictor of change in cognitive function. In contrast, the objectively measured indicator of walking speed significantly moderated long-term cognitive change. Under increasing cognitive load, the moderating influence of velocity on cognitive change increased, with increasing variability in stride time also emerging as a predictor of age-related cognitive decline. Conclusion: These findings: (a) underscore the utility of gait as a proxy for biological vitality and for indexing long-term cognitive change; and (b) inform potential mechanisms underlying age-related linkages in physical and cognitive function.

Description

Keywords

cognitive change, physical function, gait, variability, Victoria Longitudinal Study

Citation

MacDonald, S.W.S.; Hundza, S.; Love, J.A.; DeCarlo, C.A.; Halliday, D.W.R.; Brester, P.W.H.; … & Dixon, R.A. (2017). Concurrent indicators of gait velocity and variability are associated with 25-year cognitive change: A retrospective longitudinal investigation. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9, article 17. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00017