Balance features in Alzheimer's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment

J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):113-20. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-0928.


We evaluated alterations of balance by stabilometry in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and with mild-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Fifteen patients with aMCI and 15 with mild AD were recruited according to the current diagnostic criteria. Fifteen healthy subjects of the same age range were recruited as controls. Stabilometry was carried out using a commercial 4 load cell platform. Statistical analysis of between group differences was performed using one-way analysis of variance for parametric data and Kruskal-Wallis tests for non-parametric data. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to investigate the association between cognitive test scores and stabilometric data. All stabilometry measures were significantly altered in mild AD patients compared to normal controls. Antero-posterior sway was found to be the most sensitive parameter, since it correlated with the ADAS-cog orientation subscale in AD patients, and also discriminated between aMCI and normal controls. Our study shows that impairment in balance is a feature not only of AD, but also of aMCI. The alterations found suggest that a progressive failure of the vestibular system, possibly linked to reduced hippocampal performance, may be responsible for such a feature. Further research must be focused on studying the predictive value of stabilometry in the conversion of aMCI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Amnesia / psychology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation
  • Foot / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology