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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 918719, 14 pages
Review Article

A Review of Dual-Task Walking Deficits in People with Parkinson's Disease: Motor and Cognitive Contributions, Mechanisms, and Clinical Implications

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, P.O. Box 356490, Seattle, WA 98195-6490, USA

Received 1 June 2011; Revised 29 August 2011; Accepted 4 September 2011

Academic Editor: Alice Nieuwboer

Copyright © 2012 Valerie E. Kelly 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.


Gait impairments in Parkinson's disease (PD) are exacerbated under dual-task conditions requiring the simultaneous performance of cognitive or motor tasks. Dual-task walking deficits impact functional mobility, which often requires walking while performing concurrent tasks such as talking or carrying an object. The consequences of gait impairments in PD are significant and include increased disability, increased fall risk, and reduced quality of life. However, effective therapeutic interventions for dual-task walking deficits are limited. The goals of this narrative review are to describe dual-task walking deficits in people with PD, to discuss motor and cognitive factors that may contribute to these deficits, to review potential mechanisms underlying dual-task deficits, and to discuss the effect of therapeutic interventions on dual-task walking deficits in persons with PD.