[Effects of cognitive state on balance disturbances and gait disorders in institutionalised elderly]

Rev Esp Geriatr Gerontol. 2016 Mar-Apr;51(2):88-91. doi: 10.1016/j.regg.2015.07.014. Epub 2015 Nov 2.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: Ageing has been linked to a high prevalence of cognitive impairment, which, in turn, has been related to balance disturbances and gait disorders. The aim of this study was to identify whether there are differences between subjects with and without cognitive impairment regarding the quality of gait and balance.

Material and methods: An observational study was conducted on institutionalised people older than 65 years (n=82). Gait and balance was evaluated after the assessment of cognitive impairment using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Single and dual tests were used including, the 6-minute walking, stride length, and gait speed. Timed Up and Go tests were also used to evaluate balance.

Results: The participants were divided into three groups: 28 subjects in the group without cognitive impairment (MMSE≥27), 29 subjects with mild (27<MMSE≤21) and 26 subjects with moderate cognitive impairment (MMSE<21). Gait assessment showed significant between-groups differences in all the variables (P<.05). The variables assessing balance also showed significantly worse values in those groups with cognitive impairment.

Conclusion: The severity of cognitive impairment is related to impaired balance and gait, thus the clinical monitoring of these variables in population at risk is needed.

Keywords: Ageing; Ciencia cognitiva; Cognitive science; Envejecimiento; Equilibrio postural; Gait; Marcha; Postural balance.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications*
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Postural Balance
  • Walking