Journal of Neurology

, Volume 260, Issue 2, pp 580–589 | Cite as

Characterization of cognitive and motor performance during dual-tasking in healthy older adults and patients with Parkinson’s disease

  • Lucia Bartmann Wild
  • Daiane Borba de Lima
  • Joana Bisol Balardin
  • Luana Rizzi
  • Bruno Lima Giacobbo
  • Henrique Bianchi Oliveira
  • Irani Iracema de Lima Argimon
  • Leonardo Alexandre Peyré-Tartaruga
  • Carlos R. M. Rieder
  • Elke Bromberg
Original Communication


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of dual-tasking on cognitive performance and gait parameters in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) without dementia. The impact of cognitive task complexity on cognition and walking was also examined. Eighteen patients with PD (ages 53–88, 10 women; Hoehn and Yahr stage I-II) and 18 older adults (ages 61–84; 10 women) completed two neuropsychological measures of executive function/attention (the Stroop Test and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test). Cognitive performance and gait parameters related to functional mobility of stride were measured under single (cognitive task only) and dual-task (cognitive task during walking) conditions with different levels of difficulty and different types of stimuli. In addition, dual-task cognitive costs were calculated. Although cognitive performance showed no significant difference between controls and PD patients during single or dual-tasking conditions, only the patients had a decrease in cognitive performance during walking. Gait parameters of patients differed significantly from controls at single and dual-task conditions, indicating that patients gave priority to gait while cognitive performance suffered. Dual-task cognitive costs of patients increased with task complexity, reaching significantly higher values then controls in the arithmetic task, which was correlated with scores on executive function/attention (Stroop Color-Word Page). Baseline motor functioning and task executive/attentional load affect the performance of cognitive tasks of PD patients while walking. These findings provide insight into the functional strategies used by PD patients in the initial phases of the disease to manage dual-task interference.


Parkinson’s disease Dual-task Cognition Gait 



This research was supported by the National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM). I. I. Argimon is a National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) research fellow. D. B. Lima is a CAPES Ministry of Education and Culture fellowship and H. B. Oliveira is a FAPERGS fellowship.

Conflicts of interest

The authors also declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucia Bartmann Wild
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daiane Borba de Lima
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joana Bisol Balardin
    • 1
  • Luana Rizzi
    • 1
  • Bruno Lima Giacobbo
    • 1
  • Henrique Bianchi Oliveira
    • 6
  • Irani Iracema de Lima Argimon
    • 7
  • Leonardo Alexandre Peyré-Tartaruga
    • 6
  • Carlos R. M. Rieder
    • 3
  • Elke Bromberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Neurobiology and Developmental Biology Laboratory, Faculty of BiosciencesPontifical Catholic UniversityPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular BiologyPontifical Catholic UniversityPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Service of NeurologyHospital de Clínicas de Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Institute of Geriatrics and GerontologyPontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  5. 5.National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM)Porto AlegreBrazil
  6. 6.Exercise Research Laboratory, School of Physical EducationFederal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  7. 7.Faculty of PsychologyPontifical Catholic UniversityPorto AlegreBrazil

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