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Is the dual-task cost of walking and texting unique in people with multiple sclerosis?


The objective of the study was to investigate cognitive-motor interference of walking while texting in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). The study included 30 PwMS, mean disease duration 11.8 (SD = 6.8) years, and 15 healthy controls. The investigation included a cognitive assessment; texting assessment based on 100 typed characters; and gait assessment under two different conditions: normal walking and walking while texting. Outcome measures included the Symbol Digit Modalities Test to assess cognition. Texting measures included accuracy (%) and duration(s). Gait was assessed with axial accelerometers to quantify temporal measures. The dual-task cost percentage for the walking tests and texting accuracy was determined by calculating the percentage change from a single task to a double task. The impact of texting while walking on gait measures was significantly higher in PwMS; furthermore, texting was less accurate compared to the healthy controls. The dual-task cost for texting accuracy in the PwMS group was 153.3 (SD = 105.7) compared to 8.9 (SD = 26.6) in the healthy group. A significant association was found solely in the PwMS group between cognition and texting accuracy while in a sitting position (R2 = 0.564) and while walking (R2 = 0.534). The dual-task cost of walking and texting appears to be unique in the MS population.

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Correspondence to Alon Kalron.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Sirhan, B., Frid, L. & Kalron, A. Is the dual-task cost of walking and texting unique in people with multiple sclerosis?. J Neural Transm 125, 1829–1835 (2018).

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  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Gait
  • Texting
  • Dual task
  • Cognition