Dual decline in both memory and gait speed may characterize a group of older individuals at high risk for future dementia..
..Participants were 60 years or older, had an initial gait speed of more than 0.6 m/s (ie, free of overt dismobility), with repeated measures of memory and gait speed before dementia diagnosis during a mean follow-up of 6.6 to 14.5 years. Within each study, participants were divided into 4 groups: memory decline only, gait speed decline only, dual decline, or no decline (hereafter referred to as usual agers). Gait decline was defined as a loss of 0.05 m/s or more per year; memory decline was defined as being in the cohort-specific lowest tertile of annualized change
..Compared with usual agers, participants with only memory decline had 2.2 to 4.6 times higher risk for developing dementia (pooled hazard ratio, 3.45 [95% CI, 2.45-4.86]). Those with only gait decline had 2.1 to 3.6 times higher risk (pooled hazard ratio, 2.24 [95% CI, 1.62-3.09]). Those with dual decline had 5.2 to 11.7 times the risk (pooled hazard ratio, 6.28 [95% CI, 4.56-8.64]).
Conclusions and Relevance In this study, dual decline of memory and gait speed was associated with increased risk of developing dementia among older individuals, which might be a potentially valuable group for preventive or therapeutic interventions. Why dual decline is associated with an elevated risk of dementia and whether these individuals progress to dementia through specific mechanisms should be investigated by future studies.