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Dual-task and electrophysiological markers of executive cognitive processing in older adult gait and fall-risk
Walshe, Elizabeth; Patterson, Matthew R.; Commins, Sean; Roche, Richard
The role of cognition is becoming increasingly central to our understanding of the complexity of walking gait. In particular, higher-level executive functions are suggested to play a key role in gait and fall-risk, but the specific underlying neurocognitive processes remain unclear. Here, we report two experiments which investigated the cognitive and neural processes underlying older adult gait and falls. Experiment 1 employed a dual-task (DT) paradigm in young and older adults, to assess the relative effects of higher-level executive function tasks (n-Back, Serial Subtraction and visuo-spatial Clock task) in comparison to non-executive distracter tasks (motor response task and alphabet recitation) on gait. All DTs elicited changes in gait for both young and older adults, relative to baseline walking. Significantly greater DT costs were observed for the executive tasks in the older adult group. Experiment 2 compared normal walking gait, seated cognitive performances and concurrent event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in healthy young and older adults, to older adult fallers. No significant differences in cognitive performances were found between fallers and non-fallers. However, an initial late-positivity, considered a potential early P3a, was evident on the Stroop task for older non-fallers, which was notably absent in older fallers. We argue that executive control functions play a prominent role in walking and gait, but the use of neurocognitive processes as a predictor of fall-risk needs further investigation.
Keyword(s): gait; falls; dual-task; executive function; ERP; aging
Publication Date:
2015
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): Walshe, Elizabeth and Patterson, Matthew R. and Commins, Sean and Roche, Richard (2015) Dual-task and electrophysiological markers of executive cognitive processing in older adult gait and fall-risk. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9 (200). ISSN 1662-5161
Publisher(s): Frontiers Media
File Format(s): other
Related Link(s): http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/10709/1/SC-Dual-task-2015.pdf
First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:13:32 Last Updated: 2020-04-02 06:13:32