PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the gait of elderly patients with and without dementia to investigate the possibility of an ambulation assessment test as a diagnostic tool for dementia.
METHODS: A total of 96 subjects were included with 60 participants without dementia (control group) and 36 patients with dementia (dementia group). To compare the walking ability of the two groups, a 4-m walking test (4MWT) and Groningen Meander Walking Test (GMWT) were conducted. The GMWT is graded by amount of time in seconds and by number of oversteps outside the track. Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the gait between the groups and the area under the curve (AUC) with Received Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve was analyzed. Statistical significance was considered at a p<.05, with a 95% confidence interval.
RESULTS: There were statistically significant differences (p<.05) between the dementia group and the control group for the 4MWT, GMWTSEC, and GMWTSTEP scores. The AUC was .95 for 4MWT, .92 for GMWTSEC, and .96 for GMWTSTEP with the 95% confidence interval. The cut-off values of the ROC curve were 1.03m/s for 4MWT, 10.8 second for GMWTSEC, and 3.75 steps for GMSTEP.
CONCLUSION: In our study, we investigated the utility of ambulatory assessment tools to predict dementia. The results of this study suggest that the 4MWT and the GMWT used in this study are appropriate assessment tools for dementia prediction.