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Cognitive Involvement in Balance, Gait and Dual-Tasking in Aging: A Focused Review From a Neuroscience of Aging Perspective


Cognitive Involvement in Balance, Gait and Dual-Tasking in Aging: A Focused Review From a Neuroscience of Aging Perspective

Li, Karen Z. H., Bherer, Louis, Mirelman, Anat, Maidan, Inbal and Hausdorff, Jeffrey M. (2018) Cognitive Involvement in Balance, Gait and Dual-Tasking in Aging: A Focused Review From a Neuroscience of Aging Perspective. Frontiers in Neurology, 9 . ISSN 1664-2295

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00913


A substantial corpus of evidence suggests that the cognitive involvement in postural control and gait increases with aging. A large portion of such studies were based on dual-task experimental designs, which typically use the simultaneous performance of a motor task (e.g., static or dynamic balancing, walking) and a continuous cognitive task (e.g., mental arithmetic, tone detection). This focused review takes a cognitive neuroscience of aging perspective in interpreting cognitive motor dual-task findings. Specifically, we consider the importance of identifying the neural circuits that are engaged by the cognitive task in relation to those that are engaged during motor task performance. Following the principle of neural overlap, dual-task interference should be greatest when the cognitive and motor tasks engage the same neural circuits. Moreover, the literature on brain aging in general, and models of dedifferentiation and compensation, in particular, suggest that in cognitive motor dual-task performance, the cognitive task engages different neural substrates in young as compared to older adults. Also considered is the concept of multisensory aging, and the degree to which the age-related decline of other systems (e.g., vision, hearing) contribute to cognitive load. Finally, we discuss recent work on focused cognitive training, exercise and multimodal training of older adults and their effects on postural and gait outcomes. In keeping with the principle of neural overlap, the available cognitive training research suggests that targeting processes such as dividing attention and inhibition lead to improved balance and gait in older adults. However, more studies are needed that include functional neuroimaging during actual, upright performance of gait and balance tasks, in order to directly test the principle of neural overlap, and to better optimize the design of intervention studies to improve gait and posture.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Li, Karen Z. H. and Bherer, Louis and Mirelman, Anat and Maidan, Inbal and Hausdorff, Jeffrey M.
Journal or Publication:Frontiers in Neurology
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.3389/fneur.2018.00913
Keywords:gait, balance, aging, cognitive training, dual task, cognition, motor-cognitive interference
ID Code:984951
Deposited By: Krista Alexander
Deposited On:31 Jan 2019 16:07
Last Modified:31 Jan 2019 16:07


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