Walking difficulties in patients with Alzheimer's disease might originate from gait apraxia

S. Della Sala, H. Spinnler, A. Venneri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To investigate whether gait apraxia is a possible cause for some of the walking abnormalities shown by patients with Alzheimer's disease. Methods: 60 patients with Alzheimer's disease, selected as being free from overt extrapyramidal impairment or other potential causes of walking deficits, were assessed with a new test evaluating aspects of walking and related movements. Norms for this test were collected from a sample of 182 healthy volunteers. Results: 40% of the Alzheimer group performed below the cut off score on this test, and half performed poorly. Performance of the Alzheimer group in the walking skills test correlated highly with scores in a test assessing limb apraxia and with dementia severity. Conclusions: Gait apraxia may be the cause of walking disorders found in a subgroup of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Its detection is made easier by the use of a standardised test, but still relies heavily on the exclusion of other causes of walking deficits. It is a recognisable and independent form of apraxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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