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What Can Quantitative Gait Analysis Tell Us about Dementia and Its Subtypes? A Structured Review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ríona McArdle, Dr Rosie Morris, Joanna Wilson, Dr Brook Galna, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD



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


Distinguishing dementia subtypes can be difficult due to similarities in clinical presentation. There is increasing interest in discrete gait characteristics as markers to aid diagnostic algorithms in dementia. This structured review explores the differences in quantitative gait characteristics between dementia and healthy controls, and between four dementia subtypes under single-task conditions: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and vascular dementia (VaD). Twenty-six papers out of an initial 5,211 were reviewed and interpreted using a validated model of gait. Dementia was associated with gait characteristics grouped by slower pace, impaired rhythm and increased variability compared to normal aging. Only four studies compared two or more dementia subtypes. People with AD are less impaired in pace, rhythm and variability domains of gait compared to non-AD dementias. Results demonstrate the potential of gait as a clinical marker to discriminate between dementia subtypes. Larger studies using a more comprehensive battery of gait characteristics and better characterized dementia sub-types are required.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mc Ardle R, Morris R, Wilson J, Galna B, Thomas AJ, Rochester L

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Year: 2017

Volume: 60

Issue: 4

Pages: 1295-1312

Online publication date: 07/11/2017

Acceptance date: 10/08/2017

ISSN (print): 1387-2877

ISSN (electronic): 1875-8908


DOI: 10.3233/JAD-170541