Age-related deficits of dual-task walking: the role of foot vision

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Previous studies found that age-related deficits of dual-task walking emerge with secondary tasks that require substantial visual processing, but are absent with tasks that require little or no visual processing. We evaluated whether this is so because visual tasks typically interfere with foot vision, on which older persons depend more heavily than young ones. Young (25±3 years) and older (69±5 years) subjects walked along a straight path and checked boxes on a handheld panel, separately or concurrently. The panel was either transparent or opaque, thus allowing or blocking vision of the feet, respectively. We quantified subjects' performance by spatial and temporal gait measures, and as the speed of checking. An analysis of variance revealed significant effects of age and of condition (single, dual) for several gait measures, as well as for checking speed. The dual-task costs (ǀdual-singleǀ/single) averaged 0.04±0.14 in younger and 0.33±0.30 in older subjects; this age difference was significant in a t-test (p<0.01). Most importantly, performance measures obtained with the transparent and with the opaque panel were not significantly different. In conclusion, our study confirms previous findings about age-related deficits of walking with a concurrent visual task, documents for the first time that these deficits influence the entire spatio-temporal gait structure, but provides no support for the notion that they reflect an increased dependence on foot vision.

OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftGait & posture
Jahrgang33
Heft2
Seiten (von - bis)190-194
Seitenumfang5
ISSN0966-6362
DOIs
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.02.2011

ID: 163714

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