Dual-Task Effects During a Motor-Cognitive Task in Parkinson’s Disease: Patterns of Prioritization and the Influence of Cognitive Status

Hanna Johansson, Urban Ekman, Linda Rennie, Daniel S. Peterson, Breiffni Leavy, Erika Franzén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience greater difficulties during dual task (DT) walking compared to healthy controls, but factors explaining the variance in DT costs remain largely unknown. Additionally, as cognitive impairments are common in PD it is important to understand whether cognitive status influences the strategies used during DT paradigms. The study aimed to (1) explore DT costs on gait and cognition during DT walking, (2) investigate factors associated with DT costs, and (3) to investigate to what extent patterns of DT costs and prioritization differed according to cognitive status. A total of 93 people with Parkinson’s disease were examined when walking in single and DT conditions. Information regarding demographics, PD severity, mobility, and cognitive and affective symptoms was collected, and an extensive neuropsychological test battery was used to classify whether participants had mild cognitive impairment (PD MCI) or not (PD non-MCI). Dual task costs were observed across all gait domains except asymmetry. Cognitive status was associated with DT costs on both gait and cognition. Nonmotor experiences of daily living were further associated with DT cost on cognition, and TUG-cog associated with DT cost on gait. People with PD MCI had larger DT costs on gait than PD non-MCI. Strategies differed according to cognitive status, whereby PD MCI used a posture-second strategy, and PD non-MCI used a posture-first strategy. Once verified in future studies, these results can inform clinicians and researchers when tailoring DT training paradigms to the specific characteristics of people with PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-366
Number of pages11
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Parkinson disease
  • cognition
  • gait
  • multitasking behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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