A simple "one-leg balance" (OLB) test may soon help predict cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed the 686 outpatients suffering from AD. They were evaluated by a geriatrician every six months for up to two years, and their degree of cognitive impairment was measured using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE).
A "one-leg balance" (OLB) test was given to the participants where they had to stand on one leg for as long as possible.
The OLB test was reported as abnormal when the participant was unable to stand on one leg for 5 seconds or more.
The participants with an abnormal OLB at baseline or/and during the follow-up showed significantly more cognitive decline at 12, 18 and 24 months than the participants with a OLB test normal at baseline and normal during the follow-up.
"Our results suggested that an abnormal OLB is a marker of more advanced dementia (worst baseline characteristic) and an independent predictor of cognitive decline in AD," said senior Investigator Yves Rolland, Inserm and the University of Toulouse, France.
"Our results reinforce in an AD population, the growing evidence suggesting a link between physical performances and cognitive decline. If these results are confirmed by other data, the OLB test could be adopted in clinical practice to identify AD patients at high risk of rapid cognitive decline," Rolland added.