Gait, Cognition and Decline (The GOOD Project)

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Department
Medicine and Radiology
Location
Western Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au 03 8395 8121 Personal web page

Project Details

Declines in performance of gait and cognition are very common in older adults, with a prevalence of around 20% estimated among adults aged 65 years and over, often co-existing within the same individual. This coexistence is responsible for falls and related adverse health consequences. Between 20-30% of older adults with cognitive decline, regardless of the nature of the underlying process, fall at least once in their lifetime, i.e. 2 to 3 times more than age-matched adults without any cognitive decline. Falling leads to injuries, hospitalisation, loss of independence and poor quality of life, as well as higher costs to public health and social services. To avoid these adverse health events, it is essential to better understand the association between gait and cognitive decline at the early stage of the physio-pathological process, as this first step is crucial for implementation of effective prevention strategies. Until recently, gait and cognitive declines were studied and assessed as distinct declines. This may have led to a gap in our understanding of the cognitive-motor interactions that affects pathways to disability in older adults. The GOOD Project will look to address gait and cognitive declines as interrelated outcomes associated with ageing, with the aim to implement efficient and cost-effective interventions that may delay the transition to dementia and falls. We hypothesize that, compared to cognitively healthy (CH), people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia could be characterized by specific phenotypes of spatio-temporal gait parameters measured with the GAITRite® system, and that these profiles could be explained by declines in domain specific cognitive performance. The objectives of the GOOD project are:

To determine which spatio-temporal gait parameters (e.g., mean value and/or coefficient of variation) and/or combination(s) of spatio-temporal gait parameters best differentiate between CH, individuals with MCI and those with mild dementia (Alzheimer disease and non-Alzheimer).

To examine which cognitive domains are associated with gait changes in individuals with MCI and mild dementia. The design of the GOOD project is cross-sectional and will involve evaluation of the databases (i.e., spatiotemporal gait parameters measured with a GAITRite® system, neuropsychological assessment and clinical examination) of several geriatric and neurological centres around the world including: Europe (France and Switzerland), United States of America, Canada and Australia.


School Research Themes

Ageing, Musculoskeletal



Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Western Health

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