Brain patterns of pace – but not rhythm – are associated with vascular disease in older adults

Susmit Tripathi, Joe Verghese, Michele Callisaya, Jeannette R. Mahoney, Velandai Srikanth, Helena M. Blumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Distinct domains of gait such as pace and rhythm are linked to an increased risk for cognitive decline, falls, and dementia in aging. The brain substrates supporting these domains and underlying diseases, however, remain relatively unknown. The current study aimed to identify patterns of gray matter volume (GMV) associated with pace and rhythm, and whether these patterns vary as a function of vascular and non-vascular comorbidities. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 297 older adults (M Age = 72.5 years ± 7.2 years, 43% women) without dementia was drawn from the Tasmanian Study of Cognition and Gait (TASCOG). Factor analyses were used to reduce eight quantitative gait variables into two domains. The “pace” domain was primarily composed of gait speed, stride length, and double support time. The “rhythm” domain was composed of swing time, stance time, and cadence. Multivariate covariance-based analyses adjusted for age, sex, education, total intracranial volume, and presence of mild cognitive impairment identified gray matter volume (GMV) patterns associated with pace and rhythm, as well as participant-specific expression (or factor) scores for each pattern. Results: Pace was positively associated with GMV in the right superior temporal sulcus, bilateral supplementary motor areas (SMA), and bilateral cerebellar regions. Rhythm was positively associated with GMV in bilateral SMA, prefrontal, cingulate, and paracingulate cortices. The GMV pattern associated with pace was less expressed in participants with any vascular disease; this association was also found independently with hypertension, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. Conclusion: Both pace and rhythm domains of gait were associated with the volume of brain structures that have been linked to controlled and automatic aspects of gait control, as well as with structures involved in multisensory integration. Only the brain structures associated with pace, however, were associated with vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100154
JournalCerebral Circulation - Cognition and Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Gait
  • Gray matter volume
  • Multisensory integration
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Pace
  • Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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