Medical breakthrough finds Alzheimer’s patients can be identified by their walk

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People suffering from a certain form of Alzheimer’s or dementia can be identified by their walk, according to groundbreaking medical research. The discovery could lead to more accurate treatment for the diseases.

Scientists at Newcastle University in England found that doctors are able to accurately identify if a patient is suffering from either Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy body dementia by looking at subtle differences in their walking pattern. It’s the first time researchers have been able to establish walking as a potential clinical marker for subtypes of the neurological disease. 

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For the study, researchers analysed the walk of 100 people, including 29 adults whose cognition was intact, 36 Alzheimer’s patients and 45 people with Lewy body dementia. Test participants simply walked along a mat containing thousands of sensors inside to measure their movements, and the researchers found distinct patterns in the ways the different groups walked.

“Correctly identifying what type of dementia someone has is important for clinicians and researchers as it allows patients to be given the most appropriate treatment for their needs as soon as possible,” said Dr. Ríona McArdle, lead author of the study and Post-Doctoral Researcher at Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences.

The study was published this week in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s. 

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