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Title:The Effects of Concurrently Performing Balance and Cognitive Tasks Across the Life Span
Author(s):Chuang, Li-Ling
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Karl Rosengren
Department / Program:Kinesiology and Community Health
Discipline:Kinesiology and Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy
Abstract:A dual-task paradigm involving a primary sensorimotor task and a secondary cognitive task was used to examine the effect of age and task difficulty on the relationship between balance and cognition. We investigated twenty healthy children (mean age = 9.0 +/- 0.8), 20 young adults (mean age = 20.1 +/- 1.0), and 20 older adults (mean age = 70.0 +/- 3.6). Equal number of males and females were recruited for each age group. The sensorimotor tasks consisted of standing either on a stationary or a moving platform with eyes closed or open and walking on the treadmill. Three difficulty levels of the cognitive task were performed: simple, Disjunctive, and choice reaction time tasks. Both sensorimotor and cognitive performance was examined separately in the single- and dual-task situations. A motion analysis system was used to measure postural sway. Reaction time and accuracy in the cognitive tasks were collected. The relative changes of performance from the single- to dual-task, dual-task costs, were also calculated. Results showed that children maintained balance performance at the costs of cognitive performance in dual-tasking. Interestingly, children showed a decrease in cost as the cognitive task difficulty increased. The simplest cognitive task was associated with a high cost in the cognitive domain. Children exhibited greater postural sway than young and older adults in the static balance tasks and had greater dual-task costs on balance in the easiest standing task, but decreased costs when performing the sensorimotor task with their eyes closed. Young adults only showed an increase in reaction time in the most difficult standing task. In contrast to children, older adults maintained their cognitive performance at the expense of their balance performance, exhibiting greater postural sway especially in standing on a moving platform with eyes closed and walking. Generally, children and older adults experienced difficulty in dual-task and demonstrated the opposite pattern of performance trade-offs in dual-tasking. Task difficulty played a fundamental role in determining the relation between balance and cognition. The findings of this study suggest that dual-task training in walking might be a good way to enhance ability for performing multiple tasks.
Issue Date:2007
Description:149 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3290205
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2007

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