Effect of dual-tasking on the center of pressure trajectory at gait initiation in elderly fallers and non-fallers

Kazuki Uemura, Minoru Yamada, Koutatsu Nagai, Masahiro Shinya, Noriaki Ichihashi
Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 2012, 24 (2): 152-6

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The purpose of this study was to examine the center of pressure (COP) trajectory at gait initiation in single- and dualtask conditions between elderly Fallers and Non-fallers.

METHODS: Seventy-one community-dwelling elderly people (mean age 80.5 ± 7.6 years) voluntarily participated in this study. Participants were categorized as Fallers or Non-fallers on the basis of previous fall experience. In single- and dual-task conditions, participants performed gait initiation trials from a starting position on a force platform while COP data were collected. Steady-state walking time on a 10-m straight walkway in single- and dual-task conditions was also measured. In the dual-task condition, participants performed individual tests with simultaneous backward counting. Maximum COP displacements and velocities were calculated in the anteroposterior and mediolateral directions.

RESULTS: In the dual-task condition, Fallers had significantly smaller backward displacements and slower backward velocities of COP than Non-fallers, although there was no significant difference in these values in the single-task condition between groups. Steadystate walking time was also not significantly different in both single- and dual-task conditions between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Gait-initiation performance in dual-task conditions may be a good discriminator between Fallers and Non-fallers.

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