Dual-task gait and white matter hyperintensities in Lewy body diseases: An exploratory analysis.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Front Aging Neurosci, Volume 15, p.1088050 (2023)


<p><b>BACKGROUND: </b>Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are part of a spectrum of Lewy body disorders, who exhibit a range of cognitive and gait impairments. Cognitive-motor interactions can be examined by performing a cognitive task while walking and quantified by a dual task cost (DTC). White matter hyperintensities (WMH) on magnetic resonance imaging have also been associated with both gait and cognition. Our goal was to examine the relationship between DTC and WMH in the Lewy body spectrum, hypothesizing DTC would be associated with increased WMH volume.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>Seventy-eight participants with PD, PD with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), PD with dementia or DLB (PDD/DLB), and 20 cognitively unimpaired participants were examined in a multi-site study. Gait was measured on an electronic walkway during usual gait, counting backward, animal fluency, and subtracting sevens. WMH were quantified from magnetic resonance imaging using an automated pipeline and visual rating. A median split based on DTC was performed. Models included age as well as measures of global cognition and cardiovascular risk.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>Compared to cognitively unimpaired participants, usual gait speed was lower and DTC was higher in PD-MCI and PDD/DLB. Low DTC participants had higher usual gait speed. WMH burden was greater in high counting DTC participants. Frontal WMH burden remained significant after adjusting for age, cardiovascular risk and global cognition.</p><p><b>CONCLUSION: </b>Increased DTC was associated with higher frontal WMH burden in Lewy body disorders after adjusting for age, cardiovascular risk, and global cognition. Higher DTC was associated with age.</p>

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