Background: Performing a cognitive task while walking results in a reduction of walking performance among persons with MS. To date, very little is known about correlates of this dual task cost (DTC) of walking in MS. Purpose: We examined walking performance, cognitive processing speed, and symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety, and pain as correlates of DTC of walking in MS. Methods: 82 persons with MS undertook a 6-min walk test (6MWT) and completed the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Short-form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and self-reported Expanded Disability Status Scale (SR-EDSS). The participants completed 4 trials of walking at a self-selected pace on an electronic walkway that recorded spatiotemporal parameters of gait. The first 2 trials were performed without a cognitive task, whereas the second 2 trials were completed while performing a modified Word List Generation task. Results: There were significant and large declines in gait performance with the addition of a cognitive task for velocity (p<.001, η2=.52), cadence (p<.001, η2=.49), and step length (p<.001, η2=.23). 6MWT and SDMT scores correlated with DTC for velocity (r=-.41, p<.001 and r=-.32, p<.001, respectively) and step length (r=-.45, p<.001 and r=-.37, p<.001, respectively); there were no significant associations between FSS, SF-MPQ, and HADS scores with the DTC of walking. Regression analyses indicated that 6MW, but not SDMT, explained variance in DTC for velocity (δR2=.11, p<.001) and step length (δR2=.13, p<.001), after controlling for SR-EDSS scores. Conclusion: Walking performance might be a target of interventions for reducing the DTC of walking in MS.
- Multiple sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine