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Interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls

Interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls
Interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls
OBJECTIVES - To determine whether interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with balance system impairment and healthy subjects is due to general capacity limitations, motor control interference, competition for spatial processing resources, or a combination of these.
METHOD - Postural stability was assessed in 48 patients with vestibular disorder and 24 healthy controls while they were standing with eyes closed on (a) a stable and (b) a moving platform. Mental task performance was measured by accuracy and reaction time on mental tasks, comprising high and low load, spatial and non-spatial tasks. Interference between balancing and performing mental tasks was assessed by comparing baseline (single task) levels of sway and mental task performance with levels while concurrently balancing and carrying out mental tasks.
RESULTS - As the balancing task increased in difficulty, reaction times on both low load mental tasks grew progressively longer and accuracy on both high load tasks declined in patients and controls. Postural sway was essentially unaffected by mental activity in patients and controls.
CONCLUSIONS - It is unlikely that dual task interference between balancing and mental activity is due to competition for spatial processing resources, as levels of interference were similar in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls, and were also similar for spatial and non-spatial tasks. Moreover, the finding that accuracy declined on the high load tasks when balancing cannot be attributed to motor control interference, as no motor control processing is involved in maintaining accuracy of responses. Therefore, interference between mental activity and postural control can be attributed principally to general capacity limitations, and is hence proportional to the attentional demands of both tasks.
posture, attention, vestibular
0022-3050
48-52
Yardley, L.
64be42c4-511d-484d-abaa-f8813452a22e
Gardner, M.
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Bronstein, A.
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Davies, R.
e978c85d-11eb-43e3-8db0-39334aa4b8d9
Buckwell, D.
16639d74-3ad7-4d80-8352-693ff74e9926
Luxon, L.
cc03a04c-70b3-424c-8fc5-fe04aa1c1a8e
Yardley, L.
64be42c4-511d-484d-abaa-f8813452a22e
Gardner, M.
d3e0b134-870e-49da-b15c-95394d6aa659
Bronstein, A.
10f686b6-9e0a-46be-abbe-a09040e6739b
Davies, R.
e978c85d-11eb-43e3-8db0-39334aa4b8d9
Buckwell, D.
16639d74-3ad7-4d80-8352-693ff74e9926
Luxon, L.
cc03a04c-70b3-424c-8fc5-fe04aa1c1a8e

Yardley, L., Gardner, M., Bronstein, A., Davies, R., Buckwell, D. and Luxon, L. (2001) Interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 71 (1), 48-52. (doi:10.1136/jnnp.71.1.48).

Record type: Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVES - To determine whether interference between postural control and mental task performance in patients with balance system impairment and healthy subjects is due to general capacity limitations, motor control interference, competition for spatial processing resources, or a combination of these.
METHOD - Postural stability was assessed in 48 patients with vestibular disorder and 24 healthy controls while they were standing with eyes closed on (a) a stable and (b) a moving platform. Mental task performance was measured by accuracy and reaction time on mental tasks, comprising high and low load, spatial and non-spatial tasks. Interference between balancing and performing mental tasks was assessed by comparing baseline (single task) levels of sway and mental task performance with levels while concurrently balancing and carrying out mental tasks.
RESULTS - As the balancing task increased in difficulty, reaction times on both low load mental tasks grew progressively longer and accuracy on both high load tasks declined in patients and controls. Postural sway was essentially unaffected by mental activity in patients and controls.
CONCLUSIONS - It is unlikely that dual task interference between balancing and mental activity is due to competition for spatial processing resources, as levels of interference were similar in patients with vestibular disorder and healthy controls, and were also similar for spatial and non-spatial tasks. Moreover, the finding that accuracy declined on the high load tasks when balancing cannot be attributed to motor control interference, as no motor control processing is involved in maintaining accuracy of responses. Therefore, interference between mental activity and postural control can be attributed principally to general capacity limitations, and is hence proportional to the attentional demands of both tasks.

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Published date: 2001
Keywords: posture, attention, vestibular

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 18460
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/18460
ISSN: 0022-3050
PURE UUID: 1b3c9984-5363-4e1d-8532-a95bab86d38f
ORCID for L. Yardley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3853-883X

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Date deposited: 16 Dec 2005
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:11

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