A novel dual task balance test with cognitive cues for the postural control

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPosterForskningpeer review


Background and aim. There may be significant attention requirements for the postural control, depending on the postural task, the age and the balance abilities of the individual. The use of a dual task approach is therefore believed to be relevant in the assessment of balance. In this context it is common to use a combination of a primary (motor) and a secondary distracting (cognitive) task. It remains a challenge, however, to standardize and monitor the cognitive task. The purpose of this study was to develop a new dual task test with a facilitating rather than distracting cognitive component, and to evaluate the test´s ability to discriminate between young and elderly people. Methods. Thirty-one healthy community-dwelling elderly people (mean age 77 years) and fifteen young people (mean age 22 years) were included in the study. The motor task consisted of 25 repetitive tasks in which the participants should reach out or take a step to touch one out of eights lights (www.fitlighttraining.com). The lights were coded to display the colors red, blue and green and they were placed in different zones indicated by the same three colors. The color cues allowed the participants to utilize cognitive strategies to plan their movements Three different trials were performed: a) Random: lights were lit in a random sequence (baseline); b) Cue: the color of each light indicated the position of the next light; c) Mixed cue: similar to b), but with the cue of the red and green switched around. The performance time for each trial was record and it was evaluated how much faster the tasks was performed in the trials with a cue and with a mixed cue. Results. The elderly performed the baseline test (random light sequence) in 44 (8) seconds while the average time for the young was 29 (3) seconds. Both groups performed the task faster when they were the lights provided a leading cue for the next movement. The improvement was significantly better in the young group: elderly: 5% (8), young: 17% (5); p<0.001. There were equivalently different improvements in the mixed cue test: elderly: 4% (9) young: 12% (5); p<0.01. Conclusion. The elderly people in this study were not only slower than the young in the motor task. They were also not able to utilize the leading cues in the test as well as the young people did. Dual-task interference will only occur if the available central resource capacity is exceeded, resulting in impaired performance in one or both tasks. The results indicate that the proposed test procedure in a standardized way reveal that the elderly require increased conscious attention to maintain postural control during reaching and stepping tasks.
Publikationsdato30 jun. 2015
StatusUdgivet - 30 jun. 2015
BegivenhedInternational Society for Posture & Gait Research - Sevilla, Spanien
Varighed: 28 jun. 20152 jul. 2015


KonferenceInternational Society for Posture & Gait Research