Walking slowly ‘early sign of Alzheimer’s’

Walking slowly may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Picture: Getty Images
Walking slowly may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Picture: Getty Images
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Walking slowly may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s in older people at risk of dementia, research suggests.

Scientists studied 128 people with an average age of 76 who had displayed evidence of impaired memory.

Scans showed that 48 per cent of the group had a build up of beta amyloid protein fragments in their brains – one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

These individuals were also more likely to walk at a slower speed, measured using a standard test that times how fast a person can cover 13ft at normal pace. The average walking speed was 3.48ft per second.

Lead researcher Dr Natalia del Campo, from Toulouse University Hospital in France, said: “It’s possible that having subtle walking disturbances in addition to memory concerns may signal Alzheimer’s disease, even before people show any clinical symptoms.”

The findings are published in the journal Neurology.