Cognitive-motor Interference in Persons With MS: Dual Task Assessment and Training - A Multi-center Study

2019-11-11 17:49:13 | BioPortfolio


Dual tasking such as walking while talking on the phone or while remembering a shopping list is very frequently required in everyday life. Cognitive-motor interference occurs when the performance capacity of a motor or cognitive task decreases when both are performed simultaneously (dual task) compared to single task execution being the so-called dual task cost (DTC). Over the past five years, in MS, (pilot) studies have been conducted in order to investigate the presence and magnitude of the CMI during walking. It was shown that, even in the early stages of the disease, when walking speed is not affected as a single motor task, pwMS slow down more than healthy controls when performing DT walking. Studies have not yet investigated the impact of the complexity of the motor task, on the DTC. Across studies, many different types of cognitive distractors were applied without any documentation of psychometric properties, such as test-retest reliability, making it not yet suited as experimental outcome measure. Results have also focused on the effects of DT on walking performance, while the performance of the cognitive task was rarely assessed. Also, the majority of studies did not document the cognitive function level of pwMS or even excluded patients with cognitive deficits. As such, the relation between cognitive deficits and dual task (cognitive-motor) performance is unclear.

Motor and cognitive impairment are currently also treated separately whereas real life performance very often requiring an integrated motor and cognitive function. So far, no studies in MS have investigated the effects of physical or cognitive exercises on DT performances, or investigated effects of integrated cognitive-motor dual task training (DTT). In elderly and other neurological conditions, superior effects of dual task training (DTT) on gait training have been suggested, but the evidence is not robust yet. All these studies suggest the feasibility of DTT on gait improvement and fall risk reduction, but further insights on factors identifying responders, and differential effect of cognitive distractors needs further elucidation.

This research consist of two parts that aim to investigate:

Part 1: Assessment

1. the magnitude of the dual task cost according to different types of cognitive distractors (information processing, memory, attention, etc.),

2. its reliability as experimental outcome measure and

3. its association with factors as severity of cognitive or motor dysfunction, quality of life and fatigue.

Part 2: Intervention

1. the effectiveness of cognitive-motor DT-based training programs compared to single modality training, on DT and ST performances (cognition and mobility)

2. whether dual task learning effects transfer to improvements in daily life and are sustained for 4 weeks without training

3. which patient profiles benefit most from the integrated cognitive-motor training

4. feasibility and usefulness of an adaptive, interactive ICT-guided DTT system.

Study Design


Multiple Sclerosis


Dual Task Training, Single Mobility Training


Revalidatie & MS Centrum Overpelt




Hasselt University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-11-11T17:49:13-0500

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