The performance of stroke survivors in turning-while-walking while carrying out a concurrent cognitive task compared with controls

Wing nga Chan, Wai Nam Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background Turning-while-walking is one of the commonest causes of falls in stroke survivors. It involves cognitive processing and may be challenging when performed concurrently with a cognitive task. Previous studies of dual-tasking involving turning-while-walking in stroke survivors show that the performance of physical tasks is compromised. However, the design of those studies did not address the response of stroke survivors under dual-tasking condition without specifying the task-preference and its effect on the performance of the cognitive task. Objective First, to compare the performance of single-tasking and dual-tasking in stroke survivors. Second, to compare the performance of stroke survivors with non-stroke controls. Methods Fifty-nine stroke survivors and 45 controls were assessed with an auditory Stroop test, a turning-while-walking test, and a combination of the two single tasks. The outcome of the cognitive task was measured by the reaction time and accuracy of the task. The physical task was evaluated by measuring the turning duration, number of steps to turn, and time to complete the turning-while-walking test. Results Stroke survivors showed a significantly reduced accuracy in the auditory Stroop test when dual-tasking, but there was no change in the reaction time. Their performance in the turning-while-walking task was similar under both single-tasking and dual-tasking condition. Additionally, stroke survivors demonstrated a significantly longer reaction time and lower accuracy than the controls both when single-tasking and dual-tasking. They took longer to turn, with more steps, and needed more time to complete the turning-while-walking task in both tasking conditions. Conclusions The results show that stroke survivors with high mobility function performed the auditory Stroop test less accurately while preserving simultaneous turning-while-walking performance. They also demonstrated poorer performance in both single-tasking and dual-tasking as compared with controls.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189800
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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