Motoric cognitive risk syndrome, incident cognitive impairment and brain structure abnormalities: Systematic review and meta-analysis


Motoric Cognitive Risk syndrome (MCR) is a pre-dementia phase, which compounds slow walking speed and Subjective Cognitive Impairment (SCI). MCR’s clinical utility for the prediction of dementia and its physiopathology are still under question.


  • To examine the association of MCR and incident cognitive impairment, cognitive performance and brain structures.


The design is a systematic review, which was conducted using the Medical Subject Heading terms “Walking” and “Cognition disorders” combined with the terms “Subjective Cognitive Impairment,” “Subjective Cognitive Decline” and “Motoric Cognitive Risk.” A total of 12 studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis: 4 for dementia, 4 for incident cognitive impairment and its association with cognitive performance, and 4 for its association with brain structures.


MCR was found to be associated with incident cognitive impairment and dementia.

MCR was also found to be associated with low grey matter volume involving the premotor and the prefrontal cortex, and lacunar lesions in the frontal lobe

however, no significant associations with white matter abnormality were found. Its significant association with both low brain grey matter volume and lacunar lesions make MCR’s physiopathology unclear.

MCR successfully predicts cognitive impairment including dementia, suggesting that it may be used as a screening tool for dementia in a primary care setting.


Jewish General Hospital, Montreal

Faculty of Medicine, McGill University

Canada Gait Consortium