Associations for tasks requiring single stimulus and working memory with different aspects of gait and posture: An exploratory study

Ali Boolani, Rebecca Martin, Aurora Goodwin, Abigail Avolio, Shantanu Sur, Matthew Lee Smith, George Fulk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that there is a significant relationship between cognition and gait. However, studies have primarily focused on overall cognition when elucidating the relationship with gait. This study aimed to delineate specific aspects of cognition that are related to gait and postural control parameters. Participants (N=11, age=76.55±7.58years) performed a series of cognitive tasks categorized as either lower-level (serial subtract 3 and continuous performance task) or higher-level (serial subtract 7 and rapid visual input processing task) tasks. Following the completion of the cognitive tasks, participants performed balance and gait activities. This procedure was performed on two separate days with a minimum 48-h rest period between days. A bivariate Pearson correlation analysis was utilized to identify relationships between cognitive task scores and gait speed, step length, gait imbalance as well as the visual, vestibular, and somatosensory aspect of postural control. Lower-level cognitive tasks, specifically the serial subtract 3 was significantly (P<0.05) associated with gait speed (r=0.457), step length (r=0.481), and the ability to maintain postural control with occluded vision and unreliable somatosensory input (r=−0.504). In contrast, higher-level cognitive tasks, specifically serial subtract 7 were associated (P<0.05) with gait imbalance (r=−0.540), while rapid visual input processing primary reaction time was associated with the ability to maintain postural control in the absence of visual input (r=−0.751). Our findings align with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that examine gait, postural control, and cognitive task performance and provide a granular insight. These results may help us to better understand the relationship between cognitive deficits, gait, and postural control with aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cognition
  • Gait
  • Older adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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