28th Mar 2024

Rationale: Dementia is a condition that affects an increasing number of older people around the world. Currently, in Portugal, more than 200,000 people are suffering from dementia, and with a substantial financial impact. Investigating risk factors, early diagnosis, and symptoms of age-related diseases and cognitive impairments are crucial. Gait is not a simple motor task; it requires complex cognitive functions, such as attention; it presupposes overcoming obstacles and adapting to the environment so that the individual can walk successfully in complex environments, especially when performing other tasks. Recent evidence suggests that early changes in cognitive abilities are associated with slower, more unsteady gait during dual tasking.
Aim: This study compares the characteristics of cognitive function and gait in elderly people with and without dementia.
Methods: A minimum of 40 institutionalized elderly will be included in the study, all without neurological and/or psychiatric history previous to the current disease, 20 obtain a diagnosis of cognitive impairment or dementia, and another 20 do not score for mild cognitive decline (MCI) nor dementia in the neuropsychological screening tests.
This research, led by the University of √Čvora, received ethical approval (GD/24725/2023). Participants’ gait will be assessed with the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the Time Up and Go Test (TUG) in a single-task and dual-task situation. During these tests, participants will wear Movesense sensors to collect kinematic data associated with gait.
Results: Data are still being collected. Preliminary findings will be presented at the conference.
Conclusion: This study aims to contribute to a more in-depth knowledge of this subject, which will assist professionals in the potential (and future) early detection of this condition.

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