Fallers choose an early transfer gaze strategy during obstacle avoidance in dual-task condition

Minoru Yamada, Hidenori Tanaka, Shuhei Mori, Koutatsu Nagai, Kazuki Uemura, Buichi Tanaka, Tomoki Aoyama, Noriaki Ichihashi
Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 2011, 23 (4): 316-9

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The aim of the present study is to compare the gaze behavior between fallers and non-fallers during obstacle avoidance in dual-task conditions.

METHODS: Nine older adults who had no experience of falling (mean age 79.9 ± 5.4) and 9 older adults with known experience of falling (83.4 ± 3.6) participated in the study. We examined their gaze behavior during obstacle avoidance in singletask (ST) and dual-task (DT) conditions.

RESULTS: In the ST condition, compared with the faller group, the non-faller group showed no significant difference in timing of gaze transfer from the obstacle (faller: gaze transfer from obstacle when 1.6 ± 1.1 steps before; non-faller: 1.9 ± 0.7 steps before, p=0.493). In the DT condition, the faller group chose a transfer of gaze strategy significantly earlier than the non-faller group (faller: 2.7 ± 1.4 steps before; non-faller: 1.6 ± 0.5 steps before, p=0.008).

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that fallers chose an early transfer of gaze strategy when challenged with an obstacle in DT conditions.

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