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Roee Holtzer, Cuiling Wang and Joe Verghese

The current study critically assessed the relationship between cognitive functions and gait in nondemented older adults. Quantitative measures of gait (velocity, cadence, and a coefficient of variance in stride length) were assessed in single and dual-task conditions. Three cognitive factors captured the domains of Executive Attention, Verbal IQ, and Memory. Linear regressions showed that Executive Attention was related to velocity in both walking conditions. However, Memory and Verbal IQ were also related to velocity. Memory was related to Cadence in both walking conditions. Executive Attention was related to the coefficient of variance in stride length in both walking conditions. Linear mixed effects models showed that dual-task costs were largest in velocity followed by cadence and the coefficient of variance in stride length. The relationship between cognitive functions and gait depends, in part, on the analytic approach used, gait parameters assessed, and walking condition.