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Slowed walking signals cognitive decline: Study

A new study says that slowed walking speed could be indicative of cognitive decline that appears to arise in the right hippocampus, a finger-shaped region buried deep in the brain at ear-level, thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.

Based on the authors of the study at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health recommend that doctors must measure the walking speed of older people from time to time. “Consistent reduction in walking speed is an indicator of impending cognitive decline,” they say.

The 14-year study published in ‘Neurology’ traces slowed walking speed to decreasing mental acuity that apparently develops in the right hippocampus. It further notes that regular examination of the walking speed of older people by doctors may help in early detection of cognitive decline.

“Prevention and early treatment may hold the key to reducing the global burden of dementia, but the current screening approaches are too invasive and costly to be widely used,” said lead author Andrea Rosso, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “Our study required only a stopwatch, tape and an 18-foot-long hallway, along with about five minutes of time once every year or so.”

For more read “Hippocampus Underlies the Link Between Slowed Walking and Mental Decline” at

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