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Cognitive motor interference during walking in Multiple Sclerosis using an alternate-letter alphabet task

Learmonth, Y.C.ORCID: 0000-0002-4857-8480, Sandroff, B.M., Pilutti, L.A., Klaren, R.E., Ensari, I., Riskin, B.J., Holtzer, R. and Motl, R.W. (2014) Cognitive motor interference during walking in Multiple Sclerosis using an alternate-letter alphabet task. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitatio, 95 (8). pp. 1498-1503.

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To examine cognitive motor interference (CMI) during walking using a simple, standardized, and well-refined alphabet dual-task (DT) paradigm in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) in whom cognitive and walking impairment often co-occur.

A single time point, cross-sectional study.

A university clinical laboratory.

Individuals with MS (N=61; mean age ± SD, 50.8±9.3y) performed 4 walking trials over a 4.6-m walkway to determine gait parameters.

Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures
Gait parameters were assessed over 4 walking trials. The first 2 walks involved the single task (ST) of walking only; the second 2 walks involved participants performing the DT of reciting alternate letters of the alphabet while walking. The gait parameters recorded during the ST and DT walks were used to compute a dual-task cost (DTC) of walking (% change in gait parameter between ST and DT walks) as a metric of CMI.

Our multivariate analysis with univariate follow-ups indicated CMI during walking based on slower velocity (ηp2=.59; F=84.6; P<.001) and cadence (ηp2=.46; F=51.6; P<.001), shorter step length (ηp2=.38; F=36; P<.001), and increased step time (ηp2=.34; F=31; P<.001) and double-support time (ηp2=.31; F=27.3; P<.001) in DT versus ST conditions. The DTC of walking for the gait parameters was not correlated with clinical (disability, disease duration) and demographic (eg, education, age) factors (all |r|≤.240).

The alphabet DT paradigm is easily administered and well refined. We highlight its ability and acceptability to determine CMI during walking in people with MS, independent of disease status.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Copyright: © 2014 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
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