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Impaired Set Shifting Linked with Previous Falls

Gait Posture; ePub 2018 Feb 28; McKay, et al

Impaired set shifting is associated with previous falls in older adults with and without Parkinson disease (PD), according to a recent study. Therefore, set shifting may be useful to include in fall risk assessments, particularly when global cognitive measures are within reference limits. Researchers examined associations between set shifting, PD status, and fall history (≥1 falls in the previous 6 months) in data from PD patients (n=65) with and without freezing of gait (FOG) and community-dwelling neurologically-normal older adults (NON-PD) (n=73) who had participated in past rehabilitation studies. They found:

  • Impaired set shifting was associated with previous falls after controlling for age, sex, overall cognitive function, PD status, FOG, and PD disease duration.
  • Consistent with literature, PD and FOG were also independently associated with increased fall prevalence.
  • The strongest associations were among PD patients without freezing of gait.

McKay JL, Lang KC, Ting LH, Hackney ME. Impaired set shifting is associated with previous falls in individuals with and without Parkinson’s disease. [Published online ahead of print February 28, 2018]. Gait Posture. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2018.02.027.