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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Jun 2023 - 23 Jun 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jun 22

Sci Rep




The interplay between cognition, functional and dual-task gait in persons with a vestibular disorder versus healthy controls.


Pavlou M, Costafreda SG, Galsworthy W, Korres G, Bamiou DE


Close links exist between vestibular function and cognition. Dual-task (DT) tests may have ecological validity to assess the impact of daily life cognitive-motor demands in people with vestibular dysfunction (PwVD), functional gait and falls risk. The present paper aimed at building predictive models for functional gait under DT conditions, while clarifying the impact of vestibular dysfunction, individual characteristics, varying task types and motor-cognitive demands. Case-controlled observational study with 39 PwVD and 62 healthy participants. The Functional Gait Assessment (FGA), with and without an additional motor, numeracy, or literacy task, was completed. Multiple linear regression was used to fit models to predict FGA under single and DT performance. Dual task cost (DTC, %) was calculated to assess DT interference on FGA performance using the equation: 100*(single task score-dual task score)/single-task score. Following Bonferroni corrections for multiple comparisons (corrected alpha level of 0.003), PwVD had poorer performance than controls for all FGA conditions (p < 0.001), motor (- 3.94%; p = 0.002) and numeracy (- 22.77%; p = 0.001) DTCs and spatial working memory (p = 0.002). The literacy DTC was marginally significant (- 19.39% p = 0.005). FGA single and DT motor, numeracy, and literacy models explained 76%, 76%, 66% and 67% of the variance respectively for PwVD. Sustained attention, visual memory and sex contributed to all models; short-term visual recognition memory, balance confidence, and migraine contributed to some models. Cognitive performance is impaired in PwVD. Motor, numeracy and literacy tasks impair functional gait performance. Cognitive assessment and FGA with a numeracy or literacy cognitive component should be included within assessment protocols and considered in the provision of targeted interventions for PwVD.