Physical activity levels in cognitively normal and cognitively impaired oldest-old and the association with dementia risk factors: a pilot study

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Background: Research assessing the relationship of physical activity and dementia is usually based on studies with individuals younger than 90 years of age. The primary aim of this study was to determine physical activity levels of cognitively normal and cognitively impaired adults older than 90 years of age (oldest-old). Our secondary aim was to assess if physical activity is associated with risk factors for dementia and brain pathology biomarkers. Methods: Physical activity was assessed in cognitively normal (N = 49) and cognitively impaired (N = 12) oldest-old by trunk accelerometry for a 7-day period. We tested physical performance parameters and nutritional status as dementia risk factors, and brain pathology biomarkers. Linear regression models were used to examine the associations, correcting for age, sex and years of education. Results: Cognitively normal oldest-old were on average active for a total duration of 45 (SD 27) minutes per day, while cognitively impaired oldest-old seemed less physically active with 33 (SD 21) minutes per day with a lower movement intensity. Higher active duration and lower sedentary duration were related to better nutritional status and better physical performance. Higher movement intensities were related to better nutritional status, better physical performance and less white matter hyperintensities. Longer maximum walking bout duration associated with more amyloid binding. Conclusion: We found that cognitively impaired oldest-old are active at a lower movement intensity than cognitively normal oldest-old individuals. In the oldest-old, physical activity is related to physical parameters, nutritional status, and moderately to brain pathology biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129
Pages (from-to)129
Number of pages10
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • 90+
  • Brain pathology
  • Cognitively impaired
  • Physical performance
  • Physically active

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