Vol. 24, No. 2, 2007
Issue release date: July 2007
Free Access
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2007;24:125–137
(DOI:10.1159/000105126)
Original Research Article
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The Role of Higher-Level Cognitive Function in Gait: Executive Dysfunction Contributes to Fall Risk in Alzheimer’s Disease

Sheridan P.L.a, b · Hausdorff J.M.b, c
aBehavioral Neurology Division, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and bDivision on Aging, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA; cMovement Disorders Unit, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
email Corresponding Author


 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Gait
  • Cognition
  • Executive function
  • Attention
  • Motor control
  • Alzheimer’s disease

 goto top of outline Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is generally understood as primarily affecting cognition while sparing motor function, at least until the later stages of the disease. Studies reported over the past 10 years, however, have documented a prevalence of falls in AD patients significantly higher than in age-matched normal elders; also persons with AD have been observed to have different walking patterns with characteristics that increase gait instability. Recent work in cognitive neuroscience has begun to demonstrate the necessity of intact cognition, particularly executive function, for competent motor control. We put the pieces of this puzzle together and review the current state of knowledge about gait and cognition in general along with an exploration of the association between dementia, gait impairment and falls in AD. We also briefly examine the current treatment of gait instability in AD, mainly exercise, and propose a new approach targeting cognition.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel


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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Pamela Sheridan, MD, MMSc
Behavioral Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215 (USA)
Tel. +1 617 667 0483, Fax +1 617 667 7981, E-Mail psherida@caregroup.harvard.edu


 goto top of outline Article Information

Accepted after revision: July 24, 2005
Published online: July 4, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 13
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 109


 goto top of outline Publication Details

Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders

Vol. 24, No. 2, Year 2007 (Cover Date: July 2007)

Journal Editor: Chan-Palay, V. (New York, N.Y.)
ISSN: 1420–8008 (print), 1421–9824 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/DEM


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