Daily Physical Activity Patterns as a Window on Cognitive Diagnosis in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA)

Amal A. Wanigatunga, Fangyu Liu, Hang Wang, Jacek Urbanek, Yang An, Adam P. Spira, Ryan J. Dougherty, Qu Tian, Abhay Moghekar, Luigi Ferrucci, Eleanor Marie Simonsick, Susan M. Resnick, Jennifer A. Schrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gradual disengagement from daily physical activity (PA) could signal present or emerging mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: This study examined whether accelerometry-derived patterns of everyday movement differ by cognitive diagnosis in participants of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). Methods: Activity patterns, overall and by time-of-day, were cross-sectionally compared between participants with adjudicated normal cognition (n = 549) and MCI/AD diagnoses (n = 36; 5 participants [14%] living with AD) using covariate-adjusted regression models. Results: Compared to those with normal cognition, those with MCI/AD had 2.1% higher activity fragmentation (SE = 1.0%, p = 0.036) but similar mean total activity counts/day (p = 0.075) and minutes/day spent active (p = 0.174). Time-of-day analyses show MCI/AD participants had lower activity counts and minutes spent active during waking hours (6:00 am-5:59 pm; p < 0.01 for all). Also, they had lower activity fragmentation from 12:00-5:59 am (p < 0.001), but higher fragmentation from 12:00-5:59 pm (p = 0.026). Conclusion: Differences in the timing and patterns of physical activity throughout the day linked to MCI/AD diagnoses warrant further investigation into potential clinical utility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-469
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Accelerometry
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • diurnal patterns
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Neuroscience


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