The Effect of Mental Function 18-2


 The Effect of Mental Function on Gait among Alzheimer's Disease Patients: From Pathophysiology to

Treatment Suggestions — A Review of the Literature

Talia Yaniv, Yoav Gimmon




Background: Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative progressive disorder. It mostly affects the brain areas responsible fo cognitive functions. Impairments of the motor areas in the brain appear only in later stages of the disease. Nevertheless, the patients' mobility deteriorates from the early stages of the disease, to the point where they lose their ability to walk and thus their quality of life deteriorates. The link between the mental impairment and its effect on Alzheimer patients' gait functions is puzzling.


Objective: The goal of the review is to examine the influence of mental functions on Alzheimer patients' gait. Gaining a deeper understanding may contribute to the development of efficient intervention methods.


Method: A literature review was conducted. It included articles published in scientific journals from 1992 to 2013. Articles reporting research on Alzheimer's disease, gait, and mental function were selected.


Results: A review of the studies suggests that walking is an automatic, coordinative skill, requiring mental function in order to be matched to the environment and the individual’s goals. It seems that the cognitive impairments that are characteristic of the disease cause also gait impairment. Nowadays there is no recommended protocol for treating these problems. The studies reviewed here included a discussion of the potential effectiveness of certain motor and cognitive treatments.


Discussion and conclusions: Damage to the frontal lobes as a result of Alzheimer's disease impairs patients’ gait pattern. It appears that a method combining motor and cognitive treatments could improve the gait abilities of Alzheimer’s patients. More research is needed to explore this theory.


 Key words: Alzheimer's, gait, coordination, treatment, function

עבור לתוכן העמוד