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K. Nagai, H. Koshiba, S. Shibata, A. Hirasawa, T. Ebihara, K. Kozaki

J Frailty Aging 2017;6(4):178-182

Background: Gait disturbance and falls are serious events that can impair activities of daily living (ADL) in the elderly. On the other hand, carnitine plays essential roles in energy production, and carnitine deficiency leads to low activity levels. Objectives: We examined whether a lower serum carnitine concentration was correlated with falls and gait disturbances in the elderly. Design, Setting, and participants: We performed a cross-sectional study. One hundred and ninety-eight elderly patients (male, 83; female, 115; 81 ± 6 years old) were enrolled in this study. Measurements: Physical performance (hand grip strength, leg strength, walking speed, one-leg standing time, and tandem gait steps) and frailty status (The Edmonton Frail Scale: EFS) were evaluated. The serum total, free, and acylated carnitine levels were measured using an enzyme cycling method. We then investigated the associations between the serum carnitine level, history of falls, and the results of these physical examinations. Results: Of the 198 subjects, 56 (28%) had a history of falls within the past one year. The patients with a history of falls had lower serum total carnitine and free carnitine levels than those without a history of falls. Regarding the physical performance results, the patients with a history of falls had higher EFS scores, a weaker hand grip strength, a slower walking speed, a shorter one-leg standing time, and a smaller number of tandem gait steps than those without a history of falls. A logistic regression analysis showed that the low serum total carnitine concentration was identified as an independent factor associated with a history of falls, a slow walking speed after adjustments for age, sex and modified EFS. Conclusions: A low serum carnitine level is associated with a history of falls and gait disturbances in elderly people.

K. Nagai ; H. Koshiba ; S. Shibata ; A. Hirasawa ; T. Ebihara ; K. Kozaki (2017): Relationship of serum carnitine level with falls and gait disturbance in the elderly. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2017.36

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