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How Gait Analysis Can Be Used to Diagnose Dementia Type

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

dementia walking gait

Story at-a-glance -

  • Researchers have discovered that gait analysis can be used as a quick way to identify the type of dementia an individual has
  • Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia — two conditions that are difficult to differentiate in their early stages — have distinct gait patterns that relate to the subtle yet unique neurological differences between the two conditions
  • Those with Lewy body dementia vary the step length more than do people with Alzheimer’s, and have greater step time asymmetry. The irregularity of their walking pattern puts patients with Lewy body dementia at increased risk for falls
  • Aside from changes in gait, other early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss that disrupts daily life, finding it challenging to plan and problem solve, having trouble following conversations and/or struggling with vocabulary
  • Additional warning signs include trouble completing familiar tasks, confusion about time or place, vision problems and difficulty judging spatial relationships, declining judgment, withdrawal from social contact and mood or personality changes

Like autism among children, Alzheimer’s among seniors has reached epidemic proportions, currently affecting an estimated 5.8 million Americans. Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, including walking.

Now, researchers claim they’ve discovered that gait analysis can in fact be used as a quick way to identify the type of dementia an individual has. This tool can be quite useful for clinicians trying to reach a diagnosis to work out a treatment plan.

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