Background: The study aims to determine the spatiotemporal gait parameters and/or their combination(s) that best differentiate between cognitively healthy individuals (CHI), patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and those with mild and moderate dementia, regardless of the etiology of cognitive impairment.
Methods: A total of 2099 participants (1015 CHI, 478 patients with MCI, 331 patients with mild dementia and 275 with moderate dementia) were selected from the intercontinental "Gait, cOgnitiOn & Decline" (GOOD) initiative, which merged different databases from seven cross-sectional studies. Mean values and coefficients of variation (CoV) of spatiotemporal gait parameters were recorded during usual walking with the GAITRite® system.
Results: The severity of cognitive impairment was associated with worse performance on all gait parameters. Stride velocity had the strongest association with cognitive impairment, regardless of cognitive status. High mean value and CoV of stride length characterized moderate dementia, whereas increased CoV of stride time was specific to MCI status.
Conclusion: The findings support the existence of specific cognitive impairment-related gait disturbances with differences related to stages of cognitive impairment, which may be used to screen individuals with cognitive impairment.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease.; Epidemiology; cognitive disorders; gait assessment; gait disorders; motor control.
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