Introduction Progression to symptomatic Alzheimer disease (AD) occurs slowly over a series of preclinical stages. Declining functional mobility may be an early indicator of loss of brain network integration and may lead to an increased risk of experiencing falls. It is unknown whether measures of functional mobility and falls are preclinical markers of AD. The purpose of this study is to examine (1) the relationship between falls and functional mobility with AD biomarkers to determine when falls occur within the temporal progression to symptomatic Alzheimer disease, and (2) the attentional compared with perceptual/motor systems that underlie falls and functional mobility changes seen with AD. Methods and analysis This longitudinal cohort study will be conducted at the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Approximately 350 cognitively normal participants (with and without preclinical AD) will complete an in-home visit every year for 4 years. During each yearly assessment, functional mobility will be assessed using the Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment, Timed Up and Go, and Timed Up and Go dual task. Data regarding falls (including number and severity) will be collected monthly by self-report and confirmed through interviews. This study will leverage ongoing neuropsychological assessments and neuroimaging (including molecular imaging using positron emission tomography and MRI) performed by the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. Relationships between falls and biomarkers of amyloid, tau and neurodegeneration will be evaluated. Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the Washington University in St. Louis Institutional Review Board (reference number 201807135). Written informed consent will be obtained in the home prior to the collection of any study data. Results will be published in peer-reviewed publications and presented at national and international conferences. Trial registration number NCT04949529; Pre-results.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere050820
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 15 2021


  • adult neurology
  • dementia
  • neurological injury
  • neuropathology
  • neurophysiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Falls: A marker of preclinical Alzheimer disease: A cohort study protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this