Younger and Late Middle-Aged Adults Exhibit Different Patterns of Cognitive-Motor Interference During Locomotor Adaptation, With No Disruption of Savings

Cristina Rossi, Ryan T. Roemmich, Nicolas Schweighofer, Amy J. Bastian, Kristan A. Leech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It has been proposed that motor adaptation and subsequent savings (or faster relearning) of an adapted movement pattern are mediated by cognitive processes. Here, we evaluated the pattern of cognitive-motor interference that emerges when young and late middle-aged adults perform an executive working memory task during locomotor adaptation. We also asked if this interferes with savings of a newly learned walking pattern, as has been suggested by a study of reaching adaptation. We studied split-belt treadmill adaptation and savings in young (21 ± 2 y/o) and late middle-aged (56 ± 6 y/o) adults with or without a secondary 2-back task during adaptation. We found that young adults showed similar performance on the 2-back task during baseline and adaptation, suggesting no effect of the dual-task on cognitive performance; however, dual-tasking interfered with adaptation over the first few steps. Conversely, dual-tasking caused a decrement in cognitive performance in late middle-aged adults with no effect on adaptation. To determine if this effect was specific to adaptation, we also evaluated dual-task interference in late middle-aged adults that dual-tasked while walking in a complex environment that did not induce motor adaptation. This group exhibited less cognitive-motor interference than late middle-aged adults who dual-tasked during adaptation. Savings was unaffected by dual-tasking in both young and late middle-aged adults, which may indicate different underlying mechanisms for savings of reaching and walking. Collectively, our findings reveal an age-dependent effect of cognitive-motor interference during dual-task locomotor adaptation and no effect of dual-tasking on savings, regardless of age. Young adults maintain cognitive performance and show a mild decrement in locomotor adaptation, while late middle-aged adults adapt locomotion at the expense of cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number729284
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 26 2021

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • aging
  • cognition
  • dual-task
  • savings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Younger and Late Middle-Aged Adults Exhibit Different Patterns of Cognitive-Motor Interference During Locomotor Adaptation, With No Disruption of Savings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this