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Slow walking at 45 'a sign of faster ageing'

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Agapanthus, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Agapanthus

    Agapanthus Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wondered what people on here made of this latest bit of research reported today on the BBC.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50015982
    I can't see that anyone else has posted this, but I may be wrong? Apologies if this is posted on another thread somewhere.
    Here is another link as I now see it is widely reported in the press.
    https://neurosciencenews.com/slow-walker-brain-aging-15062/

    Here is the actual study https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2752818

    At 45 my walking speed was pretty fast. Of course it's not so great now I have a problem with my stamina - call it ME/CFS or what you will, though I am not severe, and if anything have improved somewhat. I have underactive thyroid so of course that is one aspect that affects stamina, quite apart from if there is another labelled differently. I am also 67 but my husband at 73 is a lot faster than I am and can walk distances and up hills with ease.

    What does this mean for those with ME/CFS then? Do we have a sign of faster ageing, and does it confirm that our brains are ageing too? I have seen many discussions over the years as to whether we have dementia or what, if our brains don't work properly with this condition. At this stage they seem to be possibly linking it back to childhood development of the brain though, so maybe not relevant if the walking speed has changed due to illness in midlife. How would they know what was what though?
     
  2. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I saw this study on my Twitter feed the other day. I've been a fast walker my entire life, even with ME, so I tirer much quicker. If I walk slow I lose my balance.
     
  3. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator

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    Slow walking definitely chimes with me. It’s like the Duracell bunny. I can walk pretty normally on good days for a while until the energy tank goes into the red.
     
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  4. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    Well since you ask I saw it and thought it looked like another load of nonsense from KCL.

    I pity anyone who has a perfectly good reason to walk slowly not related to any of the things they were looking at in the study.

    Looks like a prelude to more patient-blaming.

    That just looks so fishy to me, but I can't be bothered looking into it in more detail, as reports like this are two-a-penny on the BBC website and I've only got so much time and energy. Sorry if that's a cop-out, but this article is near the bottom of my "things to be angry about" list so it just won't get done.
     
  5. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sometimes scientists forget why scientific progress demands specificity...
     
  6. Agapanthus

    Agapanthus Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    On the bright side @TiredSam it doesn't ACTUALLY mention people with ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!

    I think the problem is that even if they have discovered something regarding a link with neurocognitive function in childhood, that must surely be just a group of people with this issue, not everyone. After all, you may be taking medication that affects the brain that slows things up.

    My son for instance was on long term medication for Tourette Syndrome and schizophrenia for 10 years, and should have been reviewed long before the 7 year point when I suggested to the psych that it was about time she looked at it. Since then he has been weaned off most of it. I have noted that he is mentally a lot brighter now as a result. Anyway just one example where this may not fit.

    I noticed that it was KCL but the study was done in New Zealand.

    By all means ignore the BBC connection as it is reported also in papers like the Independent and The Mail and often in those reports it gets sensationalised, but it's worth looking at the study maybe itself which I have linked to. It doesn't appear to relate to psychology in any way, but is more to do with neurological science.
     
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  7. Londinium

    Londinium Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Same here - even today (I'm classed mild most of the time) I walk faster than most other people. It's just that if I do more than about half a mile I then suffer for days afterwards.
     
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  8. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'd assume that one of the factors that influences "gait speed" is BMI/obesity, and to the degree that being overweight influences longevity, that might be the more relevant factor.
     
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  9. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Forbin outdoor temperature is a factor too. Cold weather folks walk a lot faster. When I used to travel to warmer countries I would pass everyone on the sidewalks. I needed a horn for people to get out of my way.
     
  10. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There's debate whether the biggest problem with being overweight is yo-yo weight from going on weight loss campaigns repeatedly to try to achieve a weight that the bodies of many people who are overweight cannot sustain long-term.

    Kaiser Health News likes the correlation between weight and disease, but I don't find value in that because I see people who do everything right and can't loose the weight.

    Obesity stigma and yo-yo dieting, not BMI, are behind chronic health conditions, dietitian claims (Kaiser Health News)

    Yo-yo dieting is dangerous even if you're not overweight (American Heart Association)

    ETA: references
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
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  11. Subtropical Island

    Subtropical Island Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Someone wrote to me (in passing) about this study and I wrote more in reply than I intended.

    So, getting more out of my spoons, I’m sharing my reply here too. [ETA: adding some extra spacing for ease of reading]

    The walking speed study is about using walking speed as a metric for assessing health/illness at a younger age than previously.

    It has been used for a while as a quick gauge for health/illness in aging people, and now it turns out to be a fairly good indicator of health status in younger people (from what I can see 45 is the first age in the large cohort study when a walking test is done so that’s why the test mentions 45yrs).
    It indicates a range of things like heart disease, injuries, fitness and major illnesses. And can pick up on a range of things which might be hard to find in a blood test (eg brain difficulties) or just looking at someone (because walking quickly uses a lot of different things from balance to vision to coordination etc).
    It’s not really a new idea, just a suggestion that we can use it to indicate when people of all ages need extra help. (I too use it with you: on days when I see you walking slower it tends to mean you’re not feeling well and it might be worth finding out why.)

    I’m just mentioning it because your comments seem to forget that correlation is not causation. But the study is very much intended to be about correlation.

    Tests that don’t require expensive equipment, blood draws or even access to medical facilities are valuable in countries like New Zealand which have publicly funded health care and may also be very valuable to places where access can be difficult.
    That’s the value of the study. Not to say it’s better to be a fast walker but to say that if you have trouble reaching a good maximum speed then you may need some help. That you may need assessment to see if what is slowing you down is remediable.
    Because early detection is more efficient for everyone involved.
     
  12. Subtropical Island

    Subtropical Island Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’m not saying that that’s what the media will take from it. Nor what those running the study might morph it into but it is what the study says it was trying to do.
    I sincerely hope they stick to that.

    I feel a lot less comfortable with the predictions from younger ages. I’d need to know a lot more about what they controlled for.
     
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