Effect of mild cognitive impairment on balance

J Neurol Sci. 2011 Jun 15;305(1-2):121-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2011.02.031. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Objective: To investigate the effect of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) on balance.

Methods: 87 subjects with subjective memory impairment were enrolled, and subdivided into two groups, MCI and non-MCI, according to diagnostic criteria of amnestic subtype of MCI according to the 1999 MCI international panel (Current Concepts in Mild Cognitive Impairment). These two groups were matched for age and gender. Posturography was used to assess balance by measuring the mediolateral and anteroposterial sway speed and distance in the standing position, with both opened and closed eyes.

Results: The mediolateral sway speed and distance were higher in the MCI group than the non-MCI group, with both opened and closed eyes (p<0.05). However, there was no significant difference between the MCI group and non-MCI in anteroposterior sway speed and distance. These results were confirmed in a multivariate model adjusting for gender, age, weight, height, foot size, and education. The mediolateral, and anteroposterior sway speed and distance values were higher on eye closing status than on eye opening status in both the MCI and control groups (p<0.00).

Conclusion: The falling risk is assumed to be higher in MCI subjects than in non-MCI subjects, especially due to decreased mediolateral balance, as shown in our adjusted analysis. These findings underscore the importance of specific balance exercise in which mediolateral balance is measured and visual compensation training programs for MCI subjects in order to prevent fall and related fracture, as well as the importance of programs for improvement of cognitive function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / complications
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neurologic Examination / methods
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vestibular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Vestibular Diseases / etiology
  • Vestibular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Vestibular Function Tests / methods