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A Change In Walk Could Be an Early Symptom of Alzheimer's

Update Date: Jul 17, 2012 09:39 AM EDT

Signs of cognitive decline can be seen when there are changes in a person's walk, researchers say after analyzing the results of five studies.

To diagnose cognitive decline, until recently, doctors had to rely upon neurological exams. But after the analysis of a series of five studies, it was concluded that even before a person shows mental symptoms, the decline in cognition can be noted when a change in walking appears in the person.

Alzheimer's affects 5.4 million people in the U.S. and is expected to hit 16 million people by the year 2050.

In May this year, the U.S. government announced that it was working towards training doctors to detect early symptoms of Alzheimer's and hoping to find a cure for the disease by the year 2025.

"Monitoring deterioration and other changes in a person's gait is ideal because it doesn't require any expensive technology or take a lot of time to assess," Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer's Association was quoted as saying by Fox News.

Experts say a patient's walking changes because Alzheimer's interferes with the "circuitry between areas of the brain," according to a USA Today report.

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