Background and purpose: Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer dementia (AD) often experience gait and balance disturbances and depressive symptoms alongside their cognitive impairment. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between mobility and depressive symptoms in community-dwelling persons with MCI and mild to moderate AD.
Methods: Ninety-nine participants with MCI and AD from the memory clinic at Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Norway, were included. The Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest), 10-m walk test regular (gait speed), and dual task (naming animals, dual-task cost in percent) were used to assess mobility. The Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, with validated cut-off 5/6 points, was used to assess presence of depressive symptoms. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore the relationship between mobility (3 separate models) and depressive symptoms, controlled for demographic factors, comorbidity, and Mini-Mental State Examination.
Results: One-third of the participants had depressive symptoms, mean (SD) gait speed was 1.09 (0.3) m/s, and median (interquartile range) BESTest percent score was 81.5 (17.6). No statistically significant associations were found between depression and BESTest, gait speed or dual-task cost, neither in the simple models (P = 0.15-0.85), nor in the 3 multivariate models (P = 0.57-0.69).
Discussion and conclusions: In this study, we found no associations between mobility and depressive symptoms in persons with MCI and AD recruited at a memory clinic. Few participants had major symptoms of depression, which may have influenced the results. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore the long-time associations between mobility and depression.