Gait speed, body composition, and dementia. The EPIDOS-Toulouse cohort

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Apr;67(4):425-32. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr177. Epub 2011 Oct 4.


Background: Slow gait speed (GS) predicts dementia, but this association might be mediated by body composition parameters like total fat mass (TFM) or total lean mass (TLM). The aim of the study was to evaluate whether GS, TLM, and TFM were associated factors with an increased risk for subsequent dementia in community-dwelling older women.

Methods: A case-control study was nested in the EPIDemiologie de l'OStéoporose cohort. GS (at usual pace more than 6 m), TLM, and TFM (assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) were measured at baseline. Cognitive performance was evaluated at baseline and at 7 years of follow-up. The presence of dementia was assured by two blinded memory experts based on best practice and validated criteria. Multivariate logistic regression models assessed the association of GS, TLM, and TFM with dementia risk.

Results: Of the initial 1,462 women, 75 years old and older, 647 (43.4%) were cognitively intact at baseline and had a full cognitive assessment at 7 years (145 of them developed dementia). Controlled for covariates (demographics, physical activity, self-reported disabilities, and comorbidities), GS was an independent associated factor for subsequent dementia as a continuous variable (odds ratio [OR] 2.28, 95% CI: 1.32-3.94) and as a categorized variable (OR 2.38, 95% CI: 1.28-4.43 highest vs lowest quartile). Neither interaction with GS nor a statistically significant association with dementia risk was found for TLM and TFM.

Conclusions: GS was an independent associated factor for subsequent dementia not mediated by TLM or TFM.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Gait*
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Risk