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Gait Rather Than Cognition Predicts Decline in Specific Cognitive Domains in Early Parkinson’s Disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rosie Morris, Dr Susan Lord, Dr Rachael LawsonORCiD, Dr Shirley ColemanORCiD, Dr Brook Galna, Dr Gordon Duncan, Dr Tien Kheng Khoo, Professor Alison Yarnall, Professor David Burn, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background:Dementia is significant in Parkinson’s disease (PD) with personal and socioeconomic impact. Early identification of risk is of upmost importance to optimize management. Gait precedes and predicts cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. We aimed to evaluate gait characteristics as predictors of cognitive decline in newly diagnosed PD.Methods:One hundred and nineteen participants recruited at diagnosis were assessed at baseline, 18 and 36 months. Baseline gait was characterized by variables that mapped to five domains: pace, rhythm, variability, asymmetry, and postural control. Cognitive assessment included attention, fluctuating attention, executive function, visual memory, and visuospatial function. Mixed-effects models tested independent gait predictors of cognitive decline.Results:Gait characteristics of pace, variability, and postural control predicted decline in fluctuating attention and visual memory, whereas baseline neuropsychological assessment performance did not predict decline.Conclusions:This provides novel evidence for gait as a clinical biomarker for PD cognitive decline in early disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morris R, Lord S, Lawson RA, Coleman S, Galna B, Duncan GW, Khoo TK, Yarnall AJ, Burn DJ, Rochester L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Gerontology: Series A

Year: 2017

Volume: 72

Issue: 12

Pages: 1656-1662

Print publication date: 09/11/2017

Online publication date: 03/05/2017

Acceptance date: 07/04/2017

Date deposited: 30/05/2017

ISSN (print): 1079-5006

ISSN (electronic): 1758-535X

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glx071


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Funder referenceFunder name
J-0802Parkinson`s UK (formerly Parkinson`s Disease Society)