Residual attentional capacity amongst young and elderly during dual and triple task walking

Uffe Laessoe, Hans C Hoeck, Ole Simonsen, Michael Voigt
Human Movement Science 2008, 27 (3): 496-512
Walking is considered an automatic function which demands little attentional resources. Thus a residual attentional capacity is available for a concurrent task (dual task). Minor age-related deficits in postural control may minimize the residual attentional capacity, however this may not be detected by a simple examination of the individuals gait performance. This study investigated the use of challenging dual task combinations to detect age related changes in gait performance. Eleven community-dwelling elderly (mean age 76 years) and 13 young subjects (mean age 26 years) participated in the study. The participants walked along a figure-of-eight track at a self-selected speed. The effect of introducing a concurrent cognitive task and a concurrent functional motor task was evaluated. Stride-to-stride variability was measured by heel contacts and by trunk accelerometry. In response to the cognitive task the elderly increased their temporal stride-to-stride variability by 39% in the walking task and by 57% in the combined motor task. These increases were significantly larger than observed for the young. Equivalent decreases in trunk acceleration autocorrelation coefficients and gait speed were found. A combination of sufficiently challenging motor tasks and concurrent cognitive tasks can reveal signs of limited residual attentional capacity during walking amongst the elderly.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"