Dual task cost of walking is related to fall risk in persons with multiple sclerosis

Douglas A. Wajda, Robert W. Motl, Jacob J. Sosnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) commonly have walking and cognitive impairments. While walking with a simultaneous cognitive task, persons with MS experience a greater decline in walking performance than healthy controls. This change in performance is termed dual task cost or dual task interference and has been associated with fall risk in older adults. We examined whether dual task cost during walking was related to fall risk in persons with MS. Thirty-three ambulatory persons with MS performed walking tasks with and without a concurrent cognitive task (dual task condition) as well as underwent a fall risk assessment. Dual task cost was operationalized as the percent change in velocity from normal walking conditions to dual task walking conditions. Fall risk was quantified using the Physiological Profile Assessment. A Spearman correlation analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between dual task cost of walking velocity and fall risk as well as dual task cost of stride length and fall risk. Overall, the findings indicate that dual task cost is associated with fall risk and may be an important target for falls prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-163
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2013


  • Cognition
  • Cognitive-motor interference
  • Falls
  • Gait
  • Mobility
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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