Recent research from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2012 has linked gait and sleep habits to the onset of Alzheimer’s in elderly adults. The first portion of this study shows that changes in the way a person walks, such as walking more slowly or at varied paces, can indicate the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. This is because in order to walk several areas of the brain must work in unison, but if Alzheimer’s is a factor these parts of the brain are not working together at the same time. In addition, it was shown that sleep can have an effect on the parts of the brain that are effected by Alzheimer’s. Specifically, it was found that sleep duration in older adults has an effect on cognition. Those elderly adults who slept five hours or less had lower average cognition than those who slept 7 hours. As well as those older adults who slept nine hours or more had lower cognition than those who slept 7 hours. Researchers say that if you know someone who you think may be at risk for this disease the first sign to look for is loss of interest.
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