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How did researchers identify the link between walking ability and POCD?

Researchers identified the link between walking ability and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) by performing studies of people undergoing non-emergency heart surgery. The people performed the six-minute walk distance (6MWD) test upon admission for their operations. Functional exercise capacity was measured by having people walk the length of a predetermined course at their own pace while attempting to cover as much ground as possible in six minutes. The distance covered in that duration was measured to the nearest meter. The researchers found that a low 6MWD was an associated risk factor for POCD after cardiac surgery. In fact, the lower the 6MWD was, the more significant the reduction in cognitive function postoperatively was.

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