HealthDay News — Increasing evidence shows that cognitive therapies may help reduce falls in older adults, according to a review published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Manuel Montero-Odasso, MD, PhD, from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues conducted a literature review of observational and interventional studies to assess the relationship between gait and cognition in aging and neurodegeneration.

The researchers found that low performance in attention and executive function is associated with gait slowing, instability, and future falls. In Parkinson disease, drug enhancement of cognition may reduce falls. To improve mobility in sedentary older adults and in those with cognitive impairment and dementia, cognitive training, dual-task training, and virtual reality modalities are promising.

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“Disentangling the mechanism and contribution of cognitive deficits in fall risk may open new treatment approaches. Mounting evidence supports that cognitive therapies help reduce falls,” the authors write.

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Montero-Odasso M, Speechley M. Falls in cognitively impaired older adults: implications for risk assessment and prevention [published online January 10, 2018]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.15219