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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 674589, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/674589
Research Article

Adaptive Walking in Alzheimer's Disease

1Laboratório de Estudos da Postura e da Locomoção, Departamento de Educação Física, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Avenida 24-A, 1515 Bela Vista, 13506-900 Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
2UNICAMP, State University of Campinas, Av. Albert Einstein, 763 Cidade Universitária 13083-852 Campinas, SP, Brazil

Received 6 March 2012; Accepted 17 July 2012

Academic Editor: Ricardo Nitrini

Copyright © 2012 Diego Orcioli-Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyze dual-task effects on free and adaptive gait in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Nineteen elders with AD participated in the study. A veteran neuropsychiatrist established the degree of AD in the sample. To determine dual-task effects on free and adaptive gait, patients performed five trials for each experimental condition: free and adaptive gait with and without a dual-task (regressive countdown). Spatial and temporal parameters were collected through an optoelectronic tridimensional system. The central stride was analyzed in free gait, and the steps immediately before (approaching phase) and during the obstacle crossing were analyzed in adaptive gait. Results indicated that AD patients walked more slowly during adaptive gait and free gait, using conservative strategies when confronted either with an obstacle or a secondary task. Furthermore, patients sought for stability to perform the tasks, particularly for adaptive gait with dual task, who used anticipatory and online adjustments to perform the task. Therefore, the increase of task complexity enhances cognitive load and risk of falls for AD patients.