Your patient’s walk is trying to tell you more than you think! It is well known that gait analysis can shed light on functional mobility status and fall risk. But did you know that gait – speed in particular – is now recognized in the literature as an important measurement to include when screening for cognitive decline and dementia?
Including gait speed in risk assessments for dementia is a must1
According to new research funded by the National Institute on Aging published in JAMA Network Open, “The combination of decline in gait speed with memory had the strongest association with dementia risk.” What does this mean? Researchers observed that participants who demonstrated both a decline in gait speed and cognition had a statistically higher risk of dementia. It is also interesting to note that gait decline was defined as “a decline in gait speed of 0.05 m/s or greater per year across the study.” The authors of this study report that gait speed should be assessed in addition to standard cognitive testing when screening for dementia.
A decrease in gait speed may precede cognitive decline2
Another recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found results that indicated a decline in gait speed precedes cognitive decline and may be linked to developing Alzheimer’s pathology. The authors noted that monitoring gait speed decline “might be used for early detection of increased risk for dementia development.” Additionally, it was discussed that the findings of this study further supported the results of previous research which indicated that changes in gait speed can be detected several years before cognitive decline and the development of dementia.
Monitor gait changes over time to identify decline in patient status sooner
It’s not enough to assess gait every once in a while, especially without any way to standardize how it is analyzed. In order to best capture changes in gait, it must be observed consistently at multiple points over time – so that trends of changing parameters can reveal themselves. This is proving to be more important as new research continues to demonstrate the value of gait as a vital sign for multiple domains of health.
While it may have previously been difficult to access such thorough gait analysis data, with new technology like OneStep it's never been easier. OneStep turns any smartphone into a clinically-validated motion analysis lab. The OneStep app allows anyone to perform a quick, 45-second gait analysis at any time, from anywhere – absolutely no wearables required. In addition to active in-app walks, OneStep’s science is also able to analyze background walks for heightened insight into patient mobility during real-life circumstances. Patients receive real-time feedback within the app and providers can review patient data in detail via the OneStep clinic. With OneStep, longitudinal gait analysis data is automatically collected and analyzed to identify trends in changes that may indicate a decline across any parameter. Plus, OneStep will even notify providers if changes in gait associated with increased risk for falls are analyzed so that they can intervene proactively – keeping patients safe and mobile.
Providers must stay informed about patient mobility to provide high-quality care, and the OneStep solution makes it simple.
Schedule a personalized demo to learn how OneStep can offer you heightened patient insight today.
1. Collyer TA, Murray AM, Woods RL, et al. Association of Dual Decline in Cognition and Gait Speed With Risk of Dementia in Older Adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;2;5(5):e2214647.
1Skillbäck T, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, et al. Slowing gait speed precedes cognitive decline by several years. Alzheimers Dement. 2022;18(9):1667-1676.