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Publisher: Elsevier
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: R1
Background. Huntington’s disease (HD) results in a range of cognitive and motor impairments that progress throughout the disease stages; however, little research has evaluated specific dual-task abilities in this population, and the degree to which they may be related to functional ability. Objectives. The purpose of this study was to a) examine simple and complex motor-cognitive dual-task performance in individuals with HD, b) determine relationships between dual-task walking ability and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability, and c) examine the relationship of dual-task measures to falls in individuals with HD. Methods. Thirty-two individuals with Huntington’s disease were evaluated for simple and complex dual-task ability using the Walking While Talking Test. Demographics and disease-specific measures of motor, cognitive and functional ability were also obtained. Results. Individuals with HD had impairments in simple and complex dual-task ability. Simple dual-task walking was correlated to disease-specific motor scores as well as cognitive performance, but complex dual-task walking was correlated with total functional capacity, as well as a range of cognitive measures. Number of prospective falls was strongly correlated to dual-task measures. Conclusions. Our results suggest that individuals with HD have impairments in cognitive-motor dual-task ability that are related to disease progression and specifically functional ability. Dual-task measures appear to evaluate a unique construct in individuals with early to mid-stage HD, and may have value in improving the prediction of falls risk in this population.

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