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    Dual-task and electrophysiological markers of executive cognitive processing in older adult gait and fall-risk


    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

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    Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00200


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    Abstract

    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.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: © 2015 Walshe, Patterson, Commins and Roche. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution and reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Cite as: Walshe EA, Patterson MR, Commins S and Roche RAP (2015) Dual-task and electrophysiological markers of executive cognitive processing in older adult gait and fall-risk. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 9:200. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00200
    Keywords: gait; falls; dual-task; executive function; ERP; aging;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 10709
    Depositing User: Dr. Sean Commins
    Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2019 16:11
    Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
    Publisher: Frontiers Media
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: Irish Research Council (IRC)
    URI:

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