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Lower Educational Level Increases the Likelihood of Preclinical Changes in Mobility in Older Women

If you have less than 9 years of schooling, you are more likely than someone with 12 or more years of education to report changing the way or how often you do at least one of four mobility tasks: walking 0.5 miles, climbing up steps, doing heavy housework, and getting in/out of a bed or chair, even though you don’t report difficulty with the task, according to a new study.

Such a change, made before difficulty with the task arises, is termed preclinical mobility disability (PCD), and has previously been identified as an independent predictor of functional decline in the elderly.

The study authors suggest PCD is a marker for early attempts to preserve function by compensating for impairments at an early stage, when intervention may be beneficial.

More details are in Gregory et al. (2011). Education predicts incidence of preclinical mobility disability in initially high-functioning older women: The Women’s Health and Aging Study II. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 66A(5), 577-581.

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