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Neuroepidemiology 2007;29:156–162

Gait Speed Predicts Decline in Attention and Psychomotor Speed in Older Adults: The Health Aging and Body Composition Study

Inzitari M.a, h · Newman A.B.a, b · Yaffe K.c · Boudreau R.b · de Rekeneire N.d · Shorr R.e, f · Harris T.B.g · Rosano C.b
aDepartment of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, and bDepartment of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., cDepartment of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, Calif., dCenters for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga., eGRECC, NF/SG Veterans Health System, and fDepartment of Aging and Geriatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., and gLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Mass., USA; hDepartment of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, Unit of Geriatrics, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Gait speed
  • Attention
  • Psychomotor speed
  • Elderly community dwellers
  • Cognitive decline
  • Mobility

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background/Aims: Gait speed is cross-sectionally associated with attention and psychomotor speed in older community dwellers. It is unclear if gait speed predicts decline in these cognitive domains over time. Methods: Usual gait speed (m/s) over 6 m was measured at baseline in 2,776 Health, Aging and Body Composition Study participants (mean age ± SD 73.5 ± 2.8 years, 53% women, 37% blacks). The Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) was administered at baseline and after 5 years to assess attention and psychomotor speed. We used multivariate logistic regression models to calculate the risk of DSST 5-year decline [>1 SD from mean change (9 points)] across quartiles of gait speed, adjusting for demographics, weight, physical activity, comorbidities, depression and Modified Mini-Mental State Examination. Results: After 5 years, 389 (17.1%) participants declined in DSST. Compared to those in the highest quartile of gait speed (>1.35 m/s), participants in the lowest quartile (<1.05 m/s) were more likely to decline in DSST independently of the considered covariates (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.21–2.51, adjusted p for trend across quartiles = 0.006). Conclusions: In this cohort of older community dwellers, gait speed independently predicted a decline in DSST after 5 years.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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    External Resources

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Marco Inzitari, MD
Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
130 N Bellefield St, Room 518
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (USA)
Tel. +1 412 383 1305, Fax +1 412 383 1308, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: November 27, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 7
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 32

 goto top of outline Publication Details


Vol. 29, No. 3-4, Year 2007 (Cover Date: February 2008)

Journal Editor: Feigin, V.L. (Auckland)
ISSN: 0251–5350 (Print), eISSN: 1423–0208 (Online)

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