Cognition and Mobility in Older Adults in India and China

Benjamin D. Capistrant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cognitive and physical function are critical, interdependent components of health and quality of life in old age. However, most research on the cognitive-disability associations has been in high income countries; evidence is scant from low and middle income countries. We used cross-sectional data from Study of Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) respondents aged 50+ to assess the relation of an episodic memory (EM), executive function (EF) and digit span (DS) measure with mobility (walking speed, normal paced 4-meter walk) in China and India(total n=17,946). Better cognitive status was positively associated with gait speed, with magnitudes similar to what is typically seen in the U.S. There were significant cross-country differences for DS (country-by-DS interaction p<0.05), but not EF or EM. Further research and cross-national comparisons of cognition-mobility associations in developing countries are needed to assess the universality of patterns observed in developed settings.

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Presented in Session 107: Cognition over the Life Course