SEOUL, March 9 (Korea Bizwire) — A report published by South Korean medical researchers has revealed that a simple test consisting of getting up from a chair and walking for a short distance can be used to assess a person’s risk of dementia.
The research team composed of doctors from SNU Hospital and Samsung Medical Center derived their conclusions by studying the case records of 53,000 individuals who had received publicly funded health examinations for 66-year olds between 2007 and 2012. Specifically, the researchers looked to see if there were any correlations between the results of an exercise called “timed up and go test” and the onset of dementia within six years of the date of the health examination.
The timed up and go test is simple. The individual being examined rises from the chair he or she is sitting in and walks three meters before returning to the initial seated position. The examiners time how long this short journey takes, and with this information glean valuable insights into leg muscle strength, walking speed and the individual’s sense of balance.
According to the study, individuals who took longer than 10 seconds to complete their timed up and go test had a 34 percent higher risk of dementia occurring in the following six years than those who completed the round trip in under 10 seconds.
Vascular dementia (1.65 times) and Alzheimer’s (1.26 times) were the most likely forms of dementia to occur.
Currently, there are no known cures for dementia. Instead, physicians attempt to delay the onset as much as possible or identify those at particular risk and provide close monitoring.
Co-lead researcher Lee Ji-yeon said the research findings supported the view that physical decrepitude is linked with cognitive deterioration.
The research report was listed in the latest issue of the publication “The Journals of Gerontology”.