Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Talking while walking puts Parkinson's patients at risk for falls

Date:
September 23, 2010
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
Walking and talking at the same time can put older adults, especially those with Parkinson's disease, at risk for injurious falls.

Walking and talking at the same time can put people with Parkinson's disease at risk for injurious falls.

A new Florida State University study found that older adults with Parkinson's disease altered their gait -- stride length, step velocity and the time they spent stabilizing on two feet -- when asked to perform increasingly difficult verbal tasks while walking. But the real surprise was that even older adults without a neurological impairment demonstrated similar difficulties walking and talking.

A disruption in gait could place Parkinson's patients and the elderly at an increased risk of falls, according to the Florida State researchers.

Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Science and Disorders Leonard L. LaPointe and co-authors Julie A.G. Stierwalt, associate professor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders, and Charles G. Maitland, professor of neurology in the College of Medicine, outlined their findings in "Talking while walking: Cognitive loading and injurious falls in Parkinson's disease." The study will be published in the October issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

"These results suggest that it might be prudent for health care professionals and caregivers to alter expectations and monitor cognitive-linguistic demands placed on these individuals while they are walking, particularly during increased risk situations such as descending stairs, in low-light conditions or avoiding obstructions," LaPointe said.

In other words, don't ask an elderly person or someone with Parkinson's to give directions or provide a thoughtful response to a complicated question while walking.

"One of the most common dual tasks performed is talking while walking," the researchers wrote. "In isolation, neither talking nor walking would be considered difficult to perform, yet when coupled, the relative ease of each task may change."

Twenty-five individuals with Parkinson's disease -- six women and 19 men -- participated in the study. The mean age of participants was 67.4 years. Thirteen people who matched in age and education but without a reported history of neurological impairment made up the control group.

The researchers used the GAITRite Portable Walkway System, a 14-foot mat containing 13,824 sensors that measures, interprets and records gait data as participants walk on it. After establishing a baseline, the participants were asked to walk while completing a "low load" task, counting by ones; a "mid load" task, serial subtraction of threes; and a "high load" task, continuation of an alpha numeric sequence, such as D-7, E-8, F-9, etc.

While there were no significant differences between the two groups in stride length and step velocity, members if the control group significantly increased the time they spent stabilizing on two feet from the low load to high load tasks. The researchers theorized that the control group used the "double support time" as a compensatory strategy to gain greater control of gait and balance. The Parkinson's group did not use this strategy and therefore placed themselves at greater risk for falls, they said.

Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. They are also the most common cause of non-fatal-injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leonard L. LaPointe, Julie A. G. Stierwalt, Charles G. Maitland. Talking while walking: Cognitive loading and injurious falls in Parkinson's disease. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2010; 12 (5): 455 DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2010.486446

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Talking while walking puts Parkinson's patients at risk for falls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121951.htm>.
Florida State University. (2010, September 23). Talking while walking puts Parkinson's patients at risk for falls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121951.htm
Florida State University. "Talking while walking puts Parkinson's patients at risk for falls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121951.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins