alexa The influence of dual-task conditions on movement in young adults with and without Down syndrome.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Down Syndrome & Chromosome Abnormalities

Author(s): Horvat M, Croce R, Tomporowski P, Barna MC

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This investigation compared spatial and temporal movement parameters of a sample of young adults with Down syndrome (DS) (N=12) and individuals without disabilities (IWD) (N=12) under dual-task conditions. Subjects performed a walking task at a preferred speed in isolation and again while holding a plate and cup, carrying tray and cups, talking on a phone, or buttoning a shirt. Spatial and temporal values were compared using a 2 (group) × 5 (conditions) repeated measures analysis of variance. Analysis of spatial components separately indicated that step length, step width, stride length and stride width revealed significant group and condition interactions (p ≤.01). Temporal components yielded significance in velocity and single-leg support time (p ≤.01). The current results support the notion that along with impairments to qualitative motor skills, individuals with DS are also impaired in higher order executive functioning (EF), as measured by a dual-task paradigm. It was concluded that movements are less efficient and functional in individuals with DS when an additional task is encountered while walking. We theorized that the motor program was sufficient for general locomotion but was not sufficiently developed to allow individuals with DS to modify or alter their movements to changing cognitive conditions that increasingly taxed EF. As gait and balance are trainable in this population, we recommend developing appropriate exercise and motor skill interventions during childhood and adolescents to increase strength, stability, and more "robust" ambulatory motor schema.

This article was published in Res DevDisabil and referenced in Journal of Down Syndrome & Chromosome Abnormalities

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