Association between Various Brain Pathologies and Gait Disturbance

Alexandra M V Wennberg, Rodolfo Savica, Michelle M. Mielke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Approximately 30% of older adults have disrupted gait. It is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline, disability, dementia, and death. Additionally, most older adults present with 1 or more neuropathologies at autopsy. Recently, there has been an effort to investigate the association between subclinical neuropathology and gait. Summary: We reviewed studies that investigated the association between gait and neuropathologies. Although all pathologies reviewed were associated with gait, grey matter atrophy was most consistently linked with poorer gait performance. Studies investigating the association between white matter and gait focused primarily on total white matter. Future research using more parsed regional analysis will provide more insight into this relationship. Evidence from studies investigating neuronal activity and gait suggests that gait disruption is associated with both under- and overactivation. Additional research is needed to delineate these conflicting results. Lastly, early evidence suggests that both amyloid and tau aggregation negatively impact multiple gait parameters, but additional studies are warranted. Overall, there was substantial methodological heterogeneity and a paucity of longitudinal studies. Key Messages: Longitudinal studies mapping changes in different types of neuropathology as they relate to changes in multiple gait parameters are needed to better understand trajectories of pathology and gait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-143
Number of pages16
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 3 2017


  • Aging
  • Gait
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Neural activation
  • Neuropathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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