Gait control: a specific subdomain of executive function?
1 UPRES EA 2646, University of Angers, UNAM, France
2 Department of Neuroscience, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Angers University Hospital, Angers, France
3 Angers University Memory Clinic, Angers, France
4 Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
5 Department of Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
6 Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospital and University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2012, 9:12 doi:10.1186/1743-0003-9-12Published: 9 February 2012
Few studies looked at the association between gait variability and executive subdomains (ESD). The aim of this study was to examine the association between ESD (i.e., information updating and monitoring) and stride time variability among healthy older adults.
Seventy-eight healthy older adults (mean age 69.9 ± 0.9 years, 59% women) were divided into 3 groups according to stride time variability (STV) tertiles while steady state walking. Coefficient of variation of stride time was used as a marker of STV. Scores on cognitive tests evaluating information updating and monitoring (Digit Span test), mental shifting (Trail Making Test part A and part B) and cognitive inhibition (Stroop Color Word test) were used as measures of ESD.
The full adjusted and the stepwise backward logistic regression models showed that the highest tertile (i.e., the worst performance) of STV was only associated with lower Digit Span performance (Odds ratio = 0.78 with P = 0.020 and Odds ratio = 0.81 with P = 0.019).
Information updating and monitoring are associated with STV in the sample of studied participants, suggesting that walking may be a complex motor task depending specifically of this subdomain of executive functions.