Study examines brain's link to walking

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The brain affects walking ability in the elderly, a new study finds. The research suggests doctors should pay more attention to the cognition-walking connection.

For the study, Roee Holtzer, assistant professor of psychology and neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and colleagues gave cognition tests to 186 people aged 70 and older. They then watched them as they walked through a corridor on a specially designed mat.

The fastest walkers had higher scores on certain cognitive tests, including those that measure memory and planning abilities. Higher levels of verbal ability also were linked to faster walking in some cases. The findings appeared in the March issue of the journal Neuropsychology.