have reported that the ability to perform dual tasks on walking begins to decline by the age of 55, which is a decade before ‘old age’ traditionally defined as the 65-year threshold.
And this Decreased ability to walk and talk at the same time Not caused by changes in physical function, but found by Changes in cognition and underlying brain function.
Walking Your Way to a Young Brain?
“Our results suggest that in middle age, poor dual-task walking performance may be an indicator of accelerated brain aging or an otherwise pre-symptomatic neurodegenerative condition,” said primary co-author Junhong Zhou, PhD, assistant scientist I. Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
“We assessed a large number of individuals between the ages of 40 and 64 who are part of a study called the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI). We observed that the ability to walk in normal, quiet conditions remained relatively stable across this age. However, even in this relatively healthy group, when we asked participants to walk and at the same time perform a mental arithmetic task, we were able to see subtle but significant changes in gait in the middle of the sixth decade of life.” Zhou said.
“This means that a simple test of dual-task walking, which examines the brain’s ability to perform two tasks at the same time, may uncover age-related changes in brain function that may lead to dementia in later life.” may increase the risk of developing. “Zhou said.
The research study, titled “The age-related contribution of cognitive function to dual-task gait in middle-age adults in Spain: observations from a population-based study,” was published in Lancet Healthy Longevity By primary authors Junhong Zhou; and Gabriele Cattaneo, Ph.D., Institut Gutmann, Institut Università de Neurorehabilitacie Adcrit à la UAB; and senior authors: David Barters-Faiz, PhD, Institut Gutmann, Institut Universitaire de Neurorehabilitacie Adcrit à la UAB; Alvaro Pascual-Leon, MD, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife; and Brad Manor, PhD, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife.
This paper stems from a unique collaboration between researchers at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Hebrew Seniorlife in Boston and the Guttman Institute in Barcelona, Spain, where population-based Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI) is being done.
The Principal Investigator of the BBHI is Prof. of the University of Barcelona. David Buttress-Faiz, and Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leon, Medical Director of the Deanna and Sidney Walk Center for Memory Health and Hinda and Arthur Marcus, a senior scientist at the Hebrew Institute for Aging Research at SeniorLife, and who serves as Scientific Director of the BBHI does.
Dual task performance may reveal early signs of cognitive decline
“Compared to walking quietly, walking under dual-task conditions exerts increased stress on the motor control system because the two tasks (eg walking and mental arithmetic) must compete for shared resources in the brain,” Zhou said.
“What we believe is that the ability to handle this stress and maintain performance adequately in both tasks is an important brain function that declines in older age. Our study is important because it showed that this Types of brain plasticity change. Much earlier than previously believed,” Zhou said.
“Now, we have a clearer picture of age-related changes in walking control and how this relates to cognitive and brain health,” Zhou said.
“Importantly though, while we observed that dual-task walking decreased with increasing age across the group, not everyone in the study fit this description. For example, we observed that participants over the age of 60 a portion of which also performed a dual-task test with participants who were 50 or younger,” Zhou said.
“This means that dual-task walking performance does not necessarily decline as we get older, and that some individuals appear to be more resistant to the effects of aging. We hope that our study will spur future research efforts to find lifestyle and other modifiable factors that support the maintenance of dual task performance in older age, as well as interventions that target these factors,” said Zhou.Life Style