Digital Public Defence: Karen Sverdrup

Master Karen Sverdrup at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Mobility in older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Erik Rosendahl, Umeå University, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Professor Nina Emaus, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT)
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Haakon Eduard Meyer, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Maren Falch Lindberg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Gro Gujord Tangen, Head of physical health, Nasjonalt senter for aldring og helse/The Norwegian National Centre for Ageing and Health 


Older adults with dementia have mobility limitations. These include reduced muscle strength, and balance- and gait impairments. Today, there does not exists a cure for dementia, but mobility limitations might be modifiable. A deeper understanding of mobility in older adults with dementia is therefore key to enable tailored intervention trials and well-designed care services.

In this thesis, we aimed to identify mobility limitations across the cognitive spectrum and between distinct dementia subtypes. Additionally, we aimed to describe development of mobility and life-space, the area where people move in their daily life, in people with dementia from time of nursing home admission.

We found that older adults with subjective cognitive decline showed reduced gait speed, and older adults with mild cognitive impairment showed reduced gait speed, muscle strength, and balance compared to cognitively healthy other adults. Further, we found that older adults with Alzheimer’s dementia had faster gait speed, and better muscle strength and balance than older adults with vascular- and Lewy body dementias.

From time of nursing home admission older adults with dementia showed substantial loss of mobility. Nevertheless, most maintained a stable life-space, moving mainly within their unit, throughout their nursing home stay. More pain and neuropsychiatric symptoms were associated with mobility decline. Better mobility, less neuropsychiatric symptoms and living on a smaller unit were associated with a wider life-space.

In conclusion, older adults with cognitive impairment and dementia should be targeted for tailored measures and interventions to prevent and mitigate excessive mobility loss.

The results in this thesis are based on analyses of data from the Trøndelag Health study (HUNT4) and the Resource Use and Disease Course in dementia-Nursing Home study (REDIC-NH).

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.



Published Jan. 28, 2022 11:16 AM - Last modified Feb. 14, 2022 11:28 AM