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Cognitive-Motor Dual Tasking in Alzheimer's Disease.
GREENFIELD, E., Evans, J.J., EMSLIE, H., MANLY, T. & WILSON, B.A.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 12(S2): 49
Year of publication:
Previous studies have suggested that walking may be disproportionately affected by concurrent cognitive demands (e.g. conversing) in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Cognitive-motor dual task difficulties may increase the risk of falls or could contribute to poor attention to important environmental stimuli (e.g. traffic) when motor demands are increased (e.g. negotiating pavements). We present results of a study of the performance of a group of patients with Alzheimer's disease on a battery of cognitive-motor dual tasking tests. Twenty patients with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease were compared with 20 matched healthy controls. Groups were compared on a single motor condition (walking), dual motor condition (walking when clicking a counter), two dual cognitive-motor conditions (walking and sentence verification; walking and tone counting) and a dual cognitive condition (sentence verification and tone counting). AD patients were poorer in the single task conditions, but also showed a disproportionate decrement (difference between dual task and single task) on walking when combined with another motor task (clicking), walking when combined with one of the cognitive tasks (tone counting), but not when combined with the other cognitive task (sentence verification). In the dual cognitive condition, performance on the sentence verification task showed a disproportionate decrement. Consistent with previous findings, it appears that there is a tendency for the cognitive/ more demanding task to be preserved at the expense of the motor/ easier task. Our findings support the argument that this is an important area of clinical assessment with potentially significant functional implications.