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Journal Article


Makizako H, Furuna T, Shimada H, Ihira H, Kimura M, Uchiyama E, Oddsson LI. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. 2010; 22(5-6): 427-432.


School of Health Sciences, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, Japan. (


(Copyright © 2010, Editrice Kurtis)






Background and aims: Many older people experience falls when they perform tasks that require increased attention. The aim of this study was to determine differences in reaction times during simple-, dual- and triple-task conditions that required different levels of motor coordination, balance control and cognitive attention between groups of fallers and non-fallers in community-dwelling older individuals. Methods: The study involved the recruitment of 87 older individuals living at home, including 57 women and 30 men aged 75 to 91 years. Reaction times, measured by pushing a handheld button as quickly as possible in response to a visual stimulus, were measured under four different conditions: 1) quiet standing (simple-task); 2) counting backwards during quiet standing (dual-task with cognitive demand); 3) stepping in place (dual-task with balance demand); and 4) counting backwards while stepping in place (triple-task with cognitive and balance demands). Results: Twenty-nine (33.3%) participants experienced at least one fall during the past year. There were no statistically significant differences in reaction times between non-fallers and fallers during any of the tasks. Reaction times were significantly longer during the dual- and triple-tasks as compared with the simple-task conditions in both groups. The ratio between reaction times during dual-tasks with balance demands (stepping in place) and reaction times in the simple-task condition related significantly to a history of falls and showed the highest odds ratio (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.06 - 9.45, P = 0.04). Conclusion: Relative changes in reaction times during a dual-task with balance demands were related to a history of falls in community-dwelling older individuals. The reaction times under dual-task conditions with a balance demand were more sensitive to past falls than reaction times during a dual-task with cognitive demands.

Language: en


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