The way people walk appears to speak volumes about the way they think, so much so that changes in an older person’s gait appear to be an early indicator of cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease… A large study at the Mayo Clinic involved basic walking, not dual-tasking, but found a similar relationship, said Dr. Rodolfo Savica, a neurologist at the clinic. Most of the 1,341 participants did not have dementia. They were evaluated twice, 15 months apart, with tests of cognitive ability and walking. Dr. Savica and his colleagues found that on average a person who walked one meter per second slower on their second test scored half a point lower on cognitive tests.
NY Times by Pam Belluck