Walking speed, cognitive function, and dementia risk in the English longitudinal study of ageing
MetadataShow full item record
OBJECTIVESTo determine the relationships between walking speed, cognitive function, and the interaction between changes in these measures and dementia risk.DESIGNLongitudinal observational study.SETTINGEnglish Longitudinal Study of Ageing.PARTICIPANTSIndividuals aged 60 and older (N=3,932).MEASUREMENTSWalking speed and cognition were assessed at Waves 1 (2002-03) and 2 (2004-05) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. New dementia cases were assessed from Wave 3 (2006-07) to Wave 7 (2014-15). The associations were modelled using Cox proportional hazards regression.RESULTSParticipants with faster baseline walking speeds were at lower risk of developing dementia (hazard ratio (HR)=0.36, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.22-0.60). Those with a greater decline in walking speed from Wave 1 to 2 were at greater risk of developing dementia (HR=1.23, 95% CI=1.03-1.47). Participants with better baseline cognition (HR=0.42, 95% CI=0.34-0.54) were at lower risk of developing dementia. Those with a greater decline in cognition from Wave 1 to 2 were at greater risk of developing dementia (HR=1.78, 95% CI=1.53-2.06). Change in walking speed and change in cognition did not have an interactive effect on dementia risk (HR=1.01, 95% CI=0.88-1.17).CONCLUSIONIn this community-dwelling sample of English adults, those with slower walking speeds and a greater decline in speed over time were at greater risk of developing dementia independent of changes in cognition. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms that may drive these associations.