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Vol. 51, No. 1, 2005
Issue release date: January–February 2005
Section title: Clinical Section
Gerontology 2005;51:48–52
(DOI:10.1159/000081435)

Dual-Task-Related Gait Changes in

Beauchet O.a,b · Dubost V.b · Gonthier R.b · Kressig R.W.a
aDepartment of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland; bDepartment of Geriatrics, Saint-Etienne University Hospitals, Saint-Etienne, France

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Received: 3/30/2004
Accepted: 12/1/2004
Published online: 12/6/2004
Issue release date: January–February 2005

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Abstract

Background: Changes in gait patterns due to a simultaneously performed cognitive task have been reported previously and associated with an increased falling risk among older adults. Little is known whether the type of cognitive task performed while walking is important concerning possible gait interference in older fall-prone individuals. Objective: To quantify and compare the effects of two different cognitive tasks on gait in transitionally frail older adults. Measurements: Gait was tested in 30 transitionally frail older adults (mean age 82.6 ± 7.1 years, 90% female) while either walking alone, performing a simple arithmetic task, or performing a task of verbal fluency. Walking time in seconds, number of steps, frequency of lateral line stepping-over, and stops were recorded. Health status was assessed using standard instruments of geriatric assessment. The classification of Speechley and Tinetti was used to define the participants’ degree of frailty. Results: Walking time and number of steps increased significantly under both dual-task conditions compared to walking alone (p < 0.001) without reaching a significant difference between the two dual-task conditions (respectively, p = 0.131 and p = 0.407), whereas lateral gait instability (frequency of lateral line stepping-over) increased significantly in association with counting backward (p = 0.006) but not with the verbal fluency task (p = 1). Conclusion: Among the studied sample of transitional older adults, a walking- associated arithmetic task significantly interfered with lateral gait stability, whereas no lateral gait deviations were seen in association with a verbal fluency task. We, therefore, suggest that the choice of the attention-splitting task in dual-task gait assessment among older adults must be made carefully.

© 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Author Contacts

Olivier Beauchet, MD, MS
Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics
Geneva University Hospitals
CH–1226 Thonex-Geneva (Switzerland)
Tel. +41 22 305 63 05, Fax +41 22 305 66 10, E-Mail olivier.beauchet@hcuge.ch

  

Article Information

Received: January 12, 2004
Accepted: March 30, 2004
Number of Print Pages : 5
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 22

  

Publication Details

Gerontology (International Journal of Experimental, Clinical and Behavioural Gerontology)

Vol. 51, No. 1, Year 2005 (Cover Date: January-February 2005)

Journal Editor: Meier-Ruge, W. (Basel)
ISSN: 0304–324X (print), 1423–0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/ger


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Clinical Section

Received: 3/30/2004
Accepted: 12/1/2004
Published online: 12/6/2004
Issue release date: January–February 2005

Number of Print Pages: 5
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


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