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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Jan;88(1):50-3.

Walking while talking: effect of task prioritization in the elderly.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY, USA. jverghes@aecom.yu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the effect of 2 instructions on the same walking while talking (WWT) task on task prioritization by nondisabled subjects.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey with within subject comparisons.

SETTING:

Community-based sample.

PARTICIPANTS:

Older adults (N=189; mean age, 80.2+/-4.9y), who did not meet criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, for dementia and were able to independently perform activities of daily living.

INTERVENTIONS:

Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Verbal and gait measures on the same WWT task with 2 different instructions: paying attention to both talking and walking (WWT-C) and paying attention only to talking (WWT-T).

RESULTS:

Task prioritization effects were seen on walking but not on talking. Compared with their baseline normal walking velocity (without talking), subjects slowed down more on WWT-T (median change, 28.3%) than WWT-C (median change, 26.4%). Comparing the 2 WWT conditions, velocity and cadence was slower during WWT-T compared with WWT-C, with longer stride length. Verbal output was not significantly different on the 2 conditions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Changing instructions while maintaining the same cognitive and motor tasks on WWT in older adults result in task prioritization effects.

PMID:
17207675
PMCID:
PMC1894901
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2006.10.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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