How Gait Analysis Can Be Used to Diagnose Dementia Type

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

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