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People with Alzheimer's disease (AD) experience, in addition to the progressive loss of cognitive functions, a decline in functional performance such as mobility impairment and disability in activities of daily living (ADL). Functional decline in dementia is mainly linked to the progressive brain pathology. Peripheral biomechanical changes by advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) have been suggested but have yet to be thoroughly studied.
A multi-center, longitudinal, one-year follow-up cohort study was conducted in 144 people with early stage AD or mixed Alzheimer's/Vascular dementia. Linear mixed model analyses was used to study associations between AGE-levels (AGE reader) and mobility (Timed Up and Go), and ADL (Groningen Activity Restriction Scale and Barthel index), respectively.
A significant association between AGE levels and mobility (β = 3.57, 95%CI: 1.43–5.73) was revealed; however, no significant association between AGE levels and ADL was found. Over a one-year time span, mean AGE levels significantly increased, and mobility and ADL performance decreased. Change in AGE levels was not significantly correlated with change in mobility.
This study indicates that high AGE levels could be a contributing factor to impaired mobility but lacks evidence for an association with ADL decline in people with early stage AD or mixed dementia. Future research is necessary on the reduction of functional decline in dementia regarding the effectiveness of interventions such as physical activity programs and dietary advice possibly in combination with pharmacologic strategies targeting AGE accumulation.
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