Signs of Neuro-problems?

The likelihood of developing dementia later in life may be predicted by the speed at which people walk, while grip strength may predict stroke.

Feb 17, 2012
Jef Akst

FLICKR, DAVE LINDBLOM

Simple things, like the speed you walk or how tightly you grip an object, may yield insights into your likelihood of age-related dementia and stroke, according to new research presented at the Academy of Neurology's annual meeting.

Previous studies have linked slow walking speed with death from heart attacks and other heart problems, while fast walking has been tied to longevity. The new research adds to these findings, with brain scans of nearly 2,500 people linking slower walking to a higher risk of dementia. The study also found that stronger grip was associated with a lower risk of stroke.

“These are basic office tests which can provide insight into risk of dementia and stroke and can be easily performed by a neurologist or general practitioner,” Dr Erica Camargo, who conducted the study at the Boston Medical Centre, told BBC News. “Further research is needed to understand why this is happening and whether preclinical disease could cause slow walking and decreased strength.”