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Jordan M. Glenn, Jennifer Vincenzo, Collin K. Canella, Ashley Binns and Michelle Gray

Gait speed predicts survival in older adults; however, gait has not been evaluated in late middle-aged (LMA) populations.

Purpose:

Evaluate single- and dual-task gait speeds among sedentary (SED), recreationally active (RA), and masters athlete (MA) LMA adults.

Methods:

Participants were SED (n = 20, age = 61.0 ± 5.8), RA (n = 57, age = 63.5 ± 8.4), and MA (n = 25, age = 57.5 ± 7.9). Two trials of each task (10 m) were completed: habitual speed (HS), maximal speed (MS), dual-task (counting backward from a number by 3) habitual speed (DT-HS), and dual-task maximal speed (DT-MS).

Results:

MA (2.08 ± 0.63 m/s) had significantly (p < .05) greater MS compared with SED (1.94 ± 0.30 m/s) and RA (1.99 ± 0.53 m/s). Similar differences existed for DT-MS (SED = 1.77 ± 0.32 m/s, RA = 1.80 ± 0.51 m/s, MA = 1.89 ± 0.63 m/s). MA had smaller MS and DT-MS changes (difference between MS and DT-MS speeds) compared with RA (12%) and SED (13%).

Conclusion:

Maintaining a competitively active lifestyle increases MS in LMA adults and may support healthy aging.

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Lisa Ferguson-Stegall, Mandy Vang, Anthony S. Wolfe and Kathy M. Thomsen

Background:

Falls are a major public health concern among older adults, and most occur while walking, especially under dualtask conditions. Jaques-Dalcroze eurhythmics (JDE) is a music-based movement training program that emphasizes multitask coordinated movement. A previous 6-mo JDE study in older people demonstrated improved gait and balance; however, the effects of short-term JDE interventions on fall risk-related outcomes are largely unknown. We conducted a preliminary investigation on whether a 9-week JDE intervention improved gait and stability in a community-dwelling older cohort, hypothesizing that improvements would occur in all outcome measures.

Methods:

Nine participants (78.9 ± 12.3 y) completed the supervised JDE intervention (once/week for 60 min). Gait speed was determined by the 6-m timed walk test (6MTW); dual-task gait speed was determined by another 6MTW while counting backward from 50 aloud; and coordinated stability was assessed using a Swaymeter-like device.

Results:

Gait speed (0.92 ± 0.11 vs 1.04 ± 0.12 m/sec, P = .04) and dual-task gait speed (0.77 ± 0.09 vs 0.92 ± 0.11 m/sec, P = .0005) significantly improved.

Conclusions:

This novel intervention is an effective short-term physical activity option for those that plan physical activity or fall-risk reduction programs for the older people.

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Nicholas P. Murray and Christopher M. Janelle

The purpose of this study was to examine the central tenets of the Processing Efficiency Theory (PET) in the context of a dual-task auto racing simulation. Participants were placed into either high or low trait-anxiety groups and required to concurrently undertake a driving task while responding to one of four target LEDs upon presentation of either a valid or an invalid cue located in the central or peripheral visual field. Eye movements and dual-task performance were recorded under baseline and competition conditions. Anxiety was induced by an instructional set delivered prior to the competition condition. Findings indicated that while there was little change in driving performance from baseline to competition, response time was reduced for the low-anxious group but increased for the high-anxious group during the competitive session. Additionally there was an increase in search rate for both groups during the competitive session, indicating a reduction in processing efficiency. Implications of this study include a more comprehensive and mechanistic account of the PET and confirm that increases in cognitive anxiety may result in a reduction of processing efficiency, with little change in performance effectiveness.

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William A. Sparrow, Rezaul K. Begg and Suzanne Parker

Visual reaction time (RT) was measured in 10 older men (mean age, 71.1 years) and gender-matched controls (mean age, 26.3 years) when standing (single task) and when walking on a motor-driven treadmill (dual task). There were 90 quasirandomly presented trials over 15 min in each condition. Longer mean and median RTs were observed in the dual task compared to the single task. Older males had significantly slower mean and median RTs (315 and 304 ms, respectively) than the younger group (273 and 266 ms, respectively) in both task conditions. There were no age or condition effects on within-subject variability. Both groups showed a trend of increasing RT over the 90 single task trials but when walking only the younger group slowed. These novel findings demonstrate high but sustained attention by older adults when walking. It is proposed that the motor task’s attentional demands might contribute to their slower preferred walking speed.

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Amanda L. Penko, Jacob E. Barkley, Anson B. Rosenfeldt and Jay L. Alberts

dysfunction, and nonmotor symptoms such as cognitive dysfunction. 4 PD motor and nonmotor symptoms are often exacerbated under dual-task conditions, or the simultaneously completion of 2 tasks, as motor task automaticity is compromised and the addition of a secondary task results in decrements in motor and

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Robert Russell, Jared Porter and Olivia Campbell

This study examined the interaction between a skill/extraneous attentional focus and an internal/external focus of attention using a dual-task paradigm. Thirty-two low-skill participants completed a primary dart-throwing task with their dominant arm while simultaneously performing a secondary arm-stabilizing task with their nondominant arm. Two aspects of the participants’ attentional focus were manipulated: skill versus extraneous focus and external versus internal focus. Participants completed 120 trials across four conditions created by combining the dimensions of the two variables. Performance on the primary task was assessed by measuring throwing accuracy and the kinematics of the throwing action. Results indicated that accuracy improved under the external, skill-oriented condition relative to all other conditions; no differences between the remaining conditions were observed. These findings suggest that an external, skill-oriented focus of attention is needed to facilitate performance improvements in novices.

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Yoshifumi Ikeda, Hideyuki Okuzumi and Mitsuru Kokubun

This study investigated whether cognitive processing is influenced by stepping in place, particularly according to its frequency. Fourteen healthy young participants performed the Stroop test during stepping in place at various frequencies. Results showed the following: (a) performances on the Stroop test and at stepping in place at 1, 2, and 3 Hz were not so mutually influential, (b) performing the Stroop test degraded the timing of stepping in place at 4 Hz, (c) stepping at 0.5 Hz interfered with the cognitive processing involved with perceiving and naming colors but not with inhibitory control. These results imply that stepping in place is differentially controlled between walking at 1–4 Hz and at 0.5 Hz, the latter of which demands more attention.

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Katherine L. Hsieh, Yaejin Moon, Vignesh Ramkrishnan, Rama Ratnam and Jacob J. Sosnoff

30 seconds. 9 Participants then stood with their feet shoulder width apart and arms at their sides, performing 30-second balance tests under 5 conditions in the following order: (1) eyes open, (2) eyes open with concurrent cognitive challenge (dual task), (3) eyes open standing on foam, (4) eyes

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Deborah A. Jehu, Yves Lajoie and Nicole Paquet

Tripping has been suggested to be one of the main causes of falls in older adults ( Berg, Alessio, Mills, & Tong, 1997 ), with the majority of trips occurring during obstacle negotiation ( Overstall, Exton-Smith, Imms, & Johnson, 1977 ) and in a dual-task context ( Tideiksaar, 1996 ). Older adults

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Salman Nazary-Moghadam, Mahyar Salavati, Ali Esteki, Behnam Akhbari, Sohrab Keyhani and Afsaneh Zeinalzadeh

function may affect postural control 2 and gait patterns in patients with ACLD. Decreased gait variability is one of the features of gait dysfunction in patients with ACLD. 3 The effect of ACLD on gait stability has been examined in relation to gait speed and dual tasking (DT). It has been suggested that