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Scientists can tell what type of dementia a patient has by the way they walk, a major study has revealed.
Researchers found that people with Lewy body dementia walk differently to those with Alzheimer's disease.
People - UK - Condition - Clumps - Protein
Around 100,000 people in the UK have the condition which is caused by clumps of protein, called Lewy bodies, forming inside brain cells.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia and affects around 500,000 people.
Research - Newcastle - University - People - Lewy
The research by Newcastle University shows that people with Lewy body dementia change their walking steps more - varying step time and length - and are asymmetric when they move, in comparison to those with Alzheimer's disease. This puts them at an increased risk of falls.
The research means that for the first time doctors can diagnose people with dementia subtypes just by analysing how they walk, negating the need for a brain scan in some.
Researchers - Walk - People - Adults - Dementia
Researchers analysed the walk of 110 people, including 29 older adults without dementia symptoms, 36 with Alzheimer's disease and 45 with Lewy body dementia.
They found that people with Lewy body dementia had a unique walking pattern and that analysing people's walking gait could accurately identify 60 per cent of dementia subtypes.
Dr - Ríona - McArdle - Research - Alzheimer
Dr Ríona McArdle, who led the research, funded by the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'The way we walk can reflect changes in thinking and memory that highlight problems in our brain, such as dementia.
'Correctly identifying what type of dementia someone has is important for clinicians and researchers as it allows patients to be given the most appropriate treatment for their needs as soon as possible.
Results - Study - Walking - Tool - Toolbox
'The results from this study are exciting as they suggest that walking could be a useful tool to add to the diagnostic toolbox for dementia.
'It is a key development as a more accurate diagnosis means that we know that people are getting the right treatment,...
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