Volume 47 Number 3, 2010
Pages 225 — 232
Abstract — Multitasking situations exacerbate gait impairments and increase the risk of falling among people with Parkinson disease (PD). This study compared obstacle negotiation among 10 subjects with PD and 10 nonparkinsonian control (CTRL) subjects in two test conditions differentiated by the presence of music played through a personal music player. Subjects walked the length of a 10 m walkway at a self-selected pace, crossing a 0.15 m obstacle placed at the midpoint of the walkway. The results indicated that subjects with PD crossed the obstacle slower than CTRL subjects and that concurrent music differentially altered obstacle crossing behaviors for the CTRL subjects and subjects with PD. Subjects with PD further decreased obstacle-crossing velocities and maintained spatial parameters in the music condition. In contrast, CTRL subjects maintained all spatiotemporal parameters of obstacle crossing with music. The alterations to crossing behaviors observed among the subjects with PD support our previous suggestion that listening to music while walking may be an attentionally demanding task.
Key words: bradykinesia, cues, dual task, fall risk, gait, multitasking, music, obstacle negotiation, Parkinson disease, walking.
Last Reviewed or Updated Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:05 PM