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Executive dysfunction and attention contribute to gait interference in 'off' state Parkinson's Disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Susan Lord, Professor Lynn Rochester, Professor David Burn


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Motor and cognitive processes are required for successful 'real world' walking. We explored the specific contribution of motor function, executive function, and attention to functional gait performance in people with Parkinson's Disease (PD) when 'off' medication. Twenty-nine people with PD wearing an accelerometer were tested in their home whilst walking under four task conditions. Explanatory characteristics included age, motor function, executive function, sustained attention and divided attention. Repeated measures ANOVA compared gait speed under different task conditions. Multiple regression analysis explored the effect of characteristics on gait speed and gait interference (difference between dual and single task). Gait performance deteriorated under complex conditions (F = 51.0, P < .001). Motor function and attention explained up to 65% variance in gait speed. Motor function, attention and executive function explained up to 66% variance in gait interference. Sustained attention explained up to 10% variance in gait speed; executive function explained up to 21% variance in gait interference and divided attention explained up to 22% variance in gait interference. Motor function, executive function and attention contribute to gait speed and gait interference in PD during a functional walking task whilst 'off' medication. When both executive function and attention are included as explanatory variables, attention discriminates gait performance more effectively. Whilst both contribute to functional gait, they are used selectively to optimise performance for different conditions and to meet complex task requirements. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lord S, Rochester L, Hetherington V, Allcock LM, Burn D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gait & Posture

Year: 2010

Volume: 31

Issue: 2

Pages: 169-174

Print publication date: 01/02/2010

ISSN (print): 0966-6362

ISSN (electronic): 1879-2219

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.09.019


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