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Editorial
January 5, 2011

Role of Gait Speed in the Assessment of Older Patients

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Area di Geriatria, Università Campus Bio-Medico, Roma, Italy.

JAMA. 2011;305(1):93-94. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1970

Over the last 3 decades, a large and increasing amount of evidence has documented the importance of physical function in elderly individuals, both as a crucial component of clinical assessment as well as a specific outcome for interventions.1 However, the evaluation of physical function is still not considered as relevant as that of other clinical or biochemical parameters. Insufficient time, inadequate space, and the need for special equipment are some of the obstacles to the routine assessment of physical function in the geriatric clinical settings.2 To overcome these limitations, gait speed has repeatedly and increasingly been proposed as an unique measure of physical performance and as a potential screening tool,3,4 but adoption has remained inconsistent.

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