Executive Function Correlates with Walking Speed in Older Persons: The InCHIANTI Study

Authors

  • Alesandro Ble MD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Stefano Volpato MD, MPH,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Giovanni Zuliani MD, PhD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Jack M. Guralnik MD, PhD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Stefania Bandinelli MD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Fulvio Lauretani MD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Benedetta Bartali RD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Cinzia Maraldi MD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Renato Fellin MD,

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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  • Luigi Ferrucci MD, PhD

    1. From the *Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, ItalyLaboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland§Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Italian National Institute of Research and Care on Aging, Florence, ItalyDivision of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Heath, National Institute on Aging, Harbor Hospital, 3001 S. Hanover Street, Baltimore, MD 21225. E-mail: ferruccilu@grc.nia.nih.gov

Abstract

Objectives: To study the association between performance on psychological tests of executive function and performance on lower extremity tasks with different attentional demands in a large sample of nondemented, older adults.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Community-based.

Participants: Nine hundred twenty-six persons aged 65 and older, without dementia, stroke, parkinsonism, visual impairment, or current treatment with neuroleptics, enrolled in a large epidemiological study.

Measurements: Trail Making Test (TMT) parts A and B and two performance-based measures of lower extremity function that require different executive/attentional-demanding skills: walking speed on a 4-m course at usual pace and walking speed on a 7-m obstacle course at fast pace. A difference score (Delta TMT), obtained by subtracting time to perform part A from time to perform part B of the TMT, was used as an indicator of executive function. Based on Delta TMT, subjects were divided into poor performance, intermediate performance, and good performance.

Results: After adjustment, no association between Delta TMT and 4-m course usual-pace walking speed was found. Participants with poor Delta TMT and with intermediate Delta TMT performance were more likely to be in the lowest tertile for 7-m obstacle course walking speed.

Conclusion: In nondemented older persons, executive function is independently associated with tasks of lower extremity function that require high attentional demand.

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