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Among the Oldest Adults, Poor Balance May Signal Higher Risk for Dementia

(American Geriatrics Society) Previous studies have shown that poor physical performance is linked to increased odds for dementia in people younger than 85. But until now, we didn't know whether a link between poor physical performance and dementia existed for people 90 and older.
The researchers examined 578 people aged 90 and older who were participants in The 90+ Study, a community-based longitudinal study -- a research method that follows the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time -- of the oldest-old in Southern California…
The researchers observed a unique link between dementia risk and poor performance on two different physical performance tests: the standing balance test and the four-meter (about 13 feet) walking test.
The researchers suggested that, since walking and standing balance require complex brain activity, testing these functions may help doctors predict who among the "oldest-old" might be most at risk for developing dementia. The researchers also note that future studies could lead to the development of prevention programs and treatment strategies.
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