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    Comparable walking gait performance during executive and non-executive cognitive dual-tasks in chronic stroke: A pilot study

    Walshe, Elizabeth and Roche, Richard and Ward, Christina and Patterson, Matt and O'Neill, Desmond and Collins, Ronan and Commins, Sean (2019) Comparable walking gait performance during executive and non-executive cognitive dual-tasks in chronic stroke: A pilot study. Gait and Posture, 71. pp. 181-185. ISSN 0966-6362

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    Background: Falls are a serious problem among stroke survivors due to subsequent injuries, recovery setbacks, dependence, and mortality. A growing body of dual-task (DT) studies suggests a role of executive functions in gait control and falls, particularly in subacute stroke. However, few studies have compared distinct executive and non-executive tasks, nor their effects on chronic stroke gait. Research question: The purpose of this crosssectional study was to compare the effects of distinct working memory (2-back) and inhibition (Stroop) tasks on walking gait performance in chronic stroke survivors. Methods: A pilot sample of chronic stroke survivors (n = 11, 8 males, mean age = 70.91, 6-12months poststroke event) and age-matched healthy controls (n = 13, 4 male; mean age = 68.46) were tested. Gait performance (speed, stride time, stride time variability, stride length and stride length variability) was measured using 2 wireless inertial measurement sensors under 4 walking conditions: 1) preferred walking (single-task: ST), 2) walking with a 2-back DT, 3) walking with a Stroop DT, and 4) walking with a non-executive motor response DT. The secondary tasks were also carried out in both ST (seated) and DT conditions, to examine bidirectional effects. Results: While the stroke survivor sample had a slower gait speed across conditions and tasks, there were no significant differences between the groups [F(1, 22) = 1.13, p =.299, η2 p = .049] on the spatial or temporal gait characteristics recorded: gait performance was maintained during executive and non-executive DTs. In addition, we did not find a significant effect of group on cognitive task performance (all p > .052). However, we observed a cost in accuracy on the 2-back DT for both groups, suggesting resource overlap and greater cognitive load (all t > 19.72, all p < .001). Significance: Our gait data contradict previous studies evidencing impaired gait post-stroke, suggesting functional recovery in this chronic stroke sample.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Gait; Stroke; Dual-task; Executive function; Older adults;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 13879
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Richard Roche
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2021 12:53
    Journal or Publication Title: Gait and Posture
    Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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