University Of Tasmania
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Brain structural change and gait decline: a longitudinal population-based study

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 18:59 authored by Michele CallisayaMichele Callisaya, Beare, R, Phan, TG, Christopher BlizzardChristopher Blizzard, Thrift, AG, Chen, J, Srikanth, VK
Objectives: To investigate longitudinal associations between changes in brain structure and gait decline. Design: Longitudinal. Setting: Population-based Tasmanian Study of Cognition and Gait. Participants: Two hundred twenty-five individuals aged 60 to 86 (mean age 71.4 ± 6.8) randomly selected from the electoral roll with baseline and follow-up data. Measurements: Volumes of gray matter, white matter, hippocampi, and white matter lesions (WML) were estimated using automated segmentation from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Gait variables were measured using a computerized walkway. Linear regression was used to estimate the association between change in brain MRI measures and change in gait. Time between measurements, age, sex, BMI, education level, total intracranial volume, baseline infarcts, and medical history were used as baseline covariates. Results: Mean follow-up was 30.6 months. White matter atrophy was associated with a decline in gait speed (P = .001), step length (P = .005), and cadence (P = .001). WML progression was associated with a decline in gait speed (P = .04), and its association with decline in step length was stronger with greater baseline age (P for interaction = .04). Hippocampal atrophy was associated with a decline in gait speed (P = .006) and step length (P = .001). Total gray matter atrophy was associated with decline in cadence in those with cerebral infarcts (P for interaction = .02). Conclusion: These are the first longitudinal data demonstrating the relative contributions of brain atrophy and WML progression to gait decline in older people. Effect modification according to age and infarcts suggests a contribution of reduced physiological and brain reserve. Interventions targeting brain health may be important in preventing mobility decline in older people. © 2013, The American Geriatrics Society.


Publication title

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society










Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Blackwell Publishing Inc

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350 Main St, Malden, USA, Ma, 02148

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 The Authors. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Callisaya, ML and Beare, R and Phan, TG and Blizzard, L and Thrift, AG and Chen, J and Srikanth, VK, Brain structural change and gait decline: a longitudinal population-based study, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61, (7) pp. 1074-1079. ISSN 0002-8614 (2013), which has been published in final form at:

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Health related to ageing

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