Spatio-Temporal Parameters of Gait Changes Following Different Working Memory Tasks in Elderly

Document Type : Original Articles


1 PhD Candidate, Department of Motor Behavior, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Behehshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Motor Behavior, School of Sport Sciences, Shahid Behehshti University, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: The literature indicates quite clearly that the gait in elderly is affected by concurrent cognitive tasks. However, how different working memory subsystems’ activation influences gait is still unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of working memory task on onspatio-temporal parameters of gait in elderly.Materials and Methods: 12 elderly with the mean age of 67.52 ± 2.19 years were selected through conveniece sampling. They took part in 3 testing conditions including single walking, walking while visuospatial sketchpad component of working memory was activated and walking while phonological loop component of working memory was activated. The participants performed 12 trials in each condition from which 6 trials were selected for further analysis. In dual task condition, 6 trials in which the participants had completed the working memory task correctly were selected, while in the single task condition, these 6 trials were selected randomly. The walking trials were recorded by Motion Analysis system. Repeated measure ANOVAwas used to analyze the gait parameters.Results: There were significant differences between 3 testing conditions in gait speed (F(2,142) = 64.54; P < 0.05), step length (F(2,142) = 45.82, p < 0.05) and step width (F(2,142) = 16.36, p < 0.05).Conclusion: Visuospatial working memory task led to shorter step length, wider step width and slower gait, hence interfered more with elderly gait in comparison to phonological loop working memory task. It seems that there are common cortical networks for gait control and visuospatial processing. Therefore, visuospatial dual task interventions might enhance elderlies’ gait.