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Do Differences in Gait Predict the Risk of Developing Depression in Later Life?

Older people who were newly diagnosed with depression had a slower walking speed and a shorter step length compared with those without depression in a recent Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 12:01 am EST
"This study also raises the possibility that exercise programmes aimed at improving walking speed and balance may help in prevention of depression in later life, though this would need to be tested in dedicated clinical studies."

Older people who were newly diagnosed with depression had a slower walking speed and a shorter step length compared with those without depression in a recent Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.

Gait parameters and mental health both have significant impacts on functional status in later life. The study’s findings suggest that gait problems may represent a potentially modifiable risk factor for depression.

“Depression in later life is difficult to diagnose and older people are much less likely to present to a healthcare professional with mood-related symptoms. These findings are important because it is crucial to identify older individuals at higher risk of developing depression in order to promote earlier intervention,” said lead author Dr. Robert Briggs, of St. James’s Hospital, in Ireland. “This study also raises the possibility that exercise programmes aimed at improving walking speed and balance may help in prevention of depression in later life, though this would need to be tested in dedicated clinical studies.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.15783  

About Journal 

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age. Since the publication of our first edition in 1953, JAGS has remained one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated exclusively to gerontology and geriatrics.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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