Global and regional associations of smaller cerebral gray and white matter volumes with gait in older people

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Gait impairments increase with advancing age and can lead to falls and loss of independence. Brain atrophy also occurs in older age and may contribute to gait decline. We aimed to investigate global and regional relationships of cerebral gray and white matter volumes with gait speed, and its determinants step length and cadence, in older people. METHODS: In a population-based study, participants aged >60 years without Parkinson s disease or brain infarcts underwent magnetic resonance imaging and gait measurements using a computerized walkway. Linear regression was used to study associations of total gray and white matter volumes with gait, adjusting for each other, age, sex, height and white matter hyperintensity volume. Other covariates considered in analyses included weight and vascular disease history. Voxel-based morphometry was used to study regional relationships of gray and white matter with gait. RESULTS: There were 305 participants, mean age 71.4 (6.9) years, 54 male, mean gait speed 1.16 (0.22) m/s. Smaller total gray matter volume was independently associated with poorer gait speed (p = 0.001) and step length (p
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere84909
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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