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Poor Gait Precedes Cognitive Decline & Incident Dementia

In a large study cohort, poor performance on several independent gait domains preceded cognitive decline and incident dementia. Researchers summarized 30 gait parameters into 7 mutually independent gait domains and a Global Gait score. Participants underwent follow-up cognitive assessments between 2014 – 2016 and were followed up for incident dementia for 4 years. Among the findings:

  • 4,258 dementia-free participants (median age 67 years, 55% women) from the Rotterdam Study were included.
  • 3 independent gait domains (base of support, pace, and rhythm) and Global Gait were associated with cognitive decline.
  • 2 independent gait domains (pace and variability) and Global Gait were associated with incident dementia.
  • Associations of gait with cognitive decline and incident dementia were only present in individuals who had been cognitively unimpaired at baseline.


Darweesh SKL, et al. Quantitative gait, cognitive decline, and incident dementia: The Rotterdam Study. [Published online ahead of print September 9, 2019]. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2019.03.013.