Boosting Mobility in Older Adults

Boosting Mobility in Older Adults

Problems with mobility increase with age. Exercise has been shown to prevent mobility problems, yet relatively few older adults adhere to exercise regiments. Other mobility-improvement approaches are clearly needed.

In a study published online on September 2 in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, Joe Verghese, M.B.B.S., M.S., and colleagues assessed whether “brain games” aimed at enhancing cognitive skills might improve mobility in older people. 372 adults (average age 77) at high risk for mobility disability were randomly assigned either to play cognition-enhancing computer games or to an active-control group in which they played low-complexity computer games and attended health education classes. After 8 weeks, walking mobility improved in both groups, but brain-game-playing participants did not significantly outperform those in the active-control group. The results indicate that cognitive-remediation approaches for improving mobility need to be improved.

Dr. Verghese is chief of the integrated divisions of cognitive and motor aging and of geriatrics at Einstein and Montefiore. He also is the Murray D. Gross Memorial Faculty Scholar in Gerontology, director of the Resnick Gerontology Center, and professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology and of medicine at Einstein.

In an accompanying editorial, Brianna Sprague of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health wrote that Dr. Verghese's study "provides a blueprint for one way to measure how participating in an intervention might or might not move the needle on the everyday activities of older adults."

More News