Risk of falls in Alzheimer's disease: A prospective study

Etsuo Horikawa, Toshifumi Matsui, Hiroyuki Arai, Takashi Seki, Koh Iwasaki, Hidetada Sasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Falls are common in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Identification of the potential risk factors and developing preventive strategies for falls will have a significant impact in maintaining the quality of life in AD. Patients: Clinical follow-up of 124 (74.1±6.1 years, range 62-88) mild to moderate AD patients in an outpatient memory clinic. Methods: Postural sway, cognitive function, use of neuroleptics, severity of periventricular and deep white matter lesions, and the presence or absence of silent brain infarctions on magnetic resonance imaging were assessed at baseline. Results: A total of 104 patients (84%) completed the study. Fall events were confirmed in 42.3% (44/104). After adjustment for age, gender, and cognitive status, a high grade of periventricular white matter lesions (odds ratio 8.7 [95%CI 1.5 to 51.8], p=0.017) and neuroleptic drug use (odds ratio 3.5 [95%CI 1.2 to 10.5], p=0.027) were significantly associated with an increased risk of falls. Conclusion: Our results suggest that periventricular white matter lesions and the use of neuroleptics may be related to falls in mild to moderate AD. A comprehensive risk management of brain ischemia as well as the use of the smallest efficacious dose of neuroleptics in the treatment of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of AD should be recommended to help reduce the risk of unexpected falls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-721
Number of pages5
JournalInternal Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Falls
  • Neuroleptics
  • Silent brain infarctions
  • White matter lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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