Multitasking has become a way of life, from operating multiple software packages simultaneously on a computer, to carrying on a conversation on a cell phone while driving. Perhaps one of the most common dual tasks that we perform is talking while walking. In isolation, neither task would be considered difficult to perform, yet when coupled, the relative ease of each task may change. In the current investigation we expanded the research on talking while walking by manipulating the cognitive-linguistic complexity of verbal tasks during simultaneous walking in individuals with and without Parkinson disease (PD). Twenty-five participants with PD and 13 participants without neurological compromise completed gait tasks while conducting tasks of low (counting by ones), middle (serial subtraction of threes), and high load (alpha-numeric sequencing). Our results indicated that cognitive-linguistic demand had an impact on gait, but not on the manipulated parameters of speech. Those effects were demonstrated in individuals without neurological compromise as well as those with PD. These results suggest that it might be prudent for health care professionals and caregivers to alter expectations and monitor the cognitive-linguistic demands placed on elderly individuals, particularly those with neurological compromise who might be at greater risk for injurious falls.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing