Highlights: Simple walking test helps in the diagnosis of dementia caused by damaged brain cells It differentiates between types of disorders like idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNHP )and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) It is a very accurate and cost-effective method Simple walking test helps in accurate diagnosis of dementia, which is often not diagnosed due to its similar symptoms with other disorders, finds a study published in the journal Neurology. This test is performed based on how fast the person walks, walking backwards and walking with a tray. It also helps to differentiate whether the person has idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus or progressive supranuclear palsy. Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is caused due to excess amount of fluid present in the brain. It is difficult to diagnose this condition because it shares similar symptoms like problems with walking, balance and thinking with other neurological conditions. Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is caused due to nerve cell damage. This condition cannot be cured but its symptoms can be eased with the help of treatment. Walking Test to Diagnose Dementia "It is important that people with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus are accurately diagnosed so they can be treated, and their health can improve," said study author Charlotte Selge, MD, of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. Walking test helps to determine if the person is suffering from iNPH or PSP at the early stage of the disease. The accuracy of the diagnosis is increased by adding another task while the patients walk, to evaluate their walking ability. ‘A simple walking test may help find out whether a person has idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNHP) or progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)’ This study had 27 people with iNHP, 38 people with PSP and 38 healthy individuals who were of same age and sex. The average age of individuals with PSP was 69 and those with iNHP was 72. All of them underwent complete neurological exam, MRI, eye exam, thinking and memory tests. They were able to walk about 30 feet without walker or cane. Walking Test The walking pattern of all participants was assessed, by making them walk on a pressure-sensitive carpet that was 22 feet long. First they were asked to walk at three different speeds: slow, preferred speed and fast. They were then asked to count and walk backwards at the same time. Finally, they were asked to walk while carrying a tray. The research team found that while counting and walking backwards, the individuals with PSP showed less walking speed compared to those with iNHP. The speed was reduced by 34 percent in PSP affected people while it was 17 percent for those with iNHP. Selge said that the gait of PSP individuals was affected while they were walking with a tray and in iNPH people the walking pattern had improved. PSP affected individuals were more sensitive to dual tasks compared to those with iNHP. The researchers were able to accurately diagnose PSP and iNHP condition by assessing the walking pattern of the people. The dual-task test increased the accuracy of diagnosis to 97 percent. Findings suggest that dual task tests are an inexpensive and effective way to diagnose iNHP. "Future studies may want to increase the complexity of tasks to see if they provide even more accuracy as well as insight into how the two diseases affect gait." About Dementia Dementia is type of brain disease caused due to the damage of brain nerve cells. The symptoms are decline in thinking ability, communication problems and memory loss. There are different types of dementia like vascular dementia, mixed dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.Source: Medindia << Probenecid Anti-gout Drug may Help Treat Heart Failure Heads-up! Eating Disorders Can Affect Fertility! >> Recommended Reading Communication Therapy Helps Couples Dealing With Dementia Creative couples' intervention significantly helps people with Alzheimer's communicate. Communication intervention helps family caregivers and spouses. READ MORE New Ways may Help Build a Better Brain and Prevent Dementia There is increasing evidence that multiple medical conditions increase the risk of neurodegeneration and subsequent development of dementia. READ MORE Dementia, Cognitive Impairment More Prevalent in Rural Life Increased educational attainment has helped to mitigate cognitive decline among seniors in rural communities, according to a new study. READ MORE Alzheimers Disease Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and making the person increasingly dependent on others. READ MORE Body Types and Befitting Workouts Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body. READ MORE Dementia Dementia has become a very big concern as we have an aging population across the world. Dementia is also terrifying to us because of its disturbing symptoms and limited treatment options. READ MORE Testicle Pain - Symptom Evaluation A sudden, severe pain in the testis may be due to testicular torsion. Testicles inside the scrotum are very sensitive organs. READ MORE Undescended Testicles An undescended testicle / testis is one that has not descended into the scrotal sac before birth. It can occur to just one or both the testicles. READ MORE Vascular Dementia Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. Though it has no cure, you can still learn to manage its symptoms and lead a joyful life. READ MORE Walking As An Exercise People walk for many reasons ranging from pleasure to mental relaxation, finding solitude or for exercise. READ MORE Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss A few extra steps a day are enough to keep you fit. READ MORE Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain? Walking early morning would improve your health as it helps heart and brain to function properly. Find more about its benefits for your body. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) Drug Interaction Checker Indian Medical Journals More News on: Alzheimers DiseaseUndescended TesticlesVaricoceleBody Types and Befitting WorkoutsWalking for Fitness and Weight LossWalking As An ExerciseTesticle Pain - Symptom EvaluationDementiaVascular DementiaWho Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain?