Cognitive impairment is prevalent but still poorly diagnosed in hemodialysis adults, mainly because of the impracticality of current tools. This study examined whether remotely monitoring mobility performance can help identifying digital measures of cognitive impairment in hemodialysis patients. Sixty-nine diabetes mellitus hemodialysis patients (age = 64.1 ±8.1years, body mass index = 31.7±7.6kg/m2) were recruited. According to the Mini-Mental State Exam, 44 (64%) were determined as cognitive-intact, and 25 (36%) as cognitive-impaired. Mobility performance, including cumulated posture duration (sitting, lying, standing, and walking), daily walking performance (step and unbroken walking bout), as well as postural-transition (daily number and average duration), were measured using a validated pendant-sensor for a continuous period of 24-hour during a non-dialysis day. Motor capacity was quantified by assessing standing balance and gait performance under single-task and dual-task conditions. No between-group difference was observed for the motor capacity. However, the mobility performance was different between groups. The cognitive-impaired group spent significantly higher percentage of time in sitting and lying (Cohens effect size d = 0.78, p = 0.005) but took significantly less daily steps (d = 0.69, p = 0.015) than the cognitive-intact group. The largest effect of reduction in number of postural-transition was observed in walk-to-sit transition (d = 0.65, p = 0.020). Regression models based on demographics, addition of daily walking performance, and addition of other mobility performance metrics, led to area-under-curves of 0.76, 0.78, and 0.93, respectively, for discriminating cognitive-impaired cases. This study suggests that mobility performance metrics could be served as potential digital biomarkers of cognitive impairment among hemodialysis patients. It also highlights the additional value of measuring cumulated posture duration and postural-transition to improve the detection of cognitive impairment. Future studies need to examine potential benefits of mobility performance metrics for early diagnosis of cognitive impairment/dementia and timely intervention.
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