White matter correlates of gait perturbations resulting from spontaneous and lateralized attention in healthy older adults: A dual-task study
AuthorCastro Chavira, Susana Angelica; Vangberg, Torgil Riise; Gorecka, Marta Maria; Vasylenko, Olena; Waterloo, Knut; Rodriguez-Aranda, Claudia
To date the neural mechanisms behind gait perturbations caused by dual-task paradigms are still unknown. Therefore, the present study examined white matter correlates of gait perturbations caused by a dichotic listening task where spontaneous (free focus of attention) and lateralized attentional control (voluntary attention directed to right or left-ear) were tested. Fifty-nine right-handed, healthy older adults (59–88 years) were evaluated during single-task walking and three dual-task conditions. Dual-task costs were calculated for mean (DTCM) and coefficients of variation (DTCCoV) in gait speed, step length, stride length and step width. Volume, fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity were estimated using global probabilistic tractography for the 18 major brain tracts and correlated with the DTCs. Data demonstrated that DTCs on gait speed and step length significantly correlated with white matter integrity and volume in various tracts. Perturbations on gait speed caused by spontaneous attention were related to frontal circuitry integrity including corpus callosum, while perturbations on gait speed and step length produced by voluntary lateralized attention were associated to tracts subserving visuomotor integration and frontal function.