To examine the acute (within 72h of injury) and long-term (2mo postinjury) independent associations between objective dual-task gait balance and neurocognitive measurements among adolescents and young adults with a concussion and matched controls.
Motion analysis laboratory.
A total of 95 participants completed the study: 51 who sustained a concussion (mean age, 17.5±3.3y; 71% men) and 44 controls (mean age, 17.7±2.9y; 72% men). Participants who sustained a concussion underwent a dual-task gait analysis and computerized neurocognitive testing within 72 hours of injury and again 2 months later. Uninjured controls also completed the same test protocol in similar time increments.
Main Outcome Measures
We compared dual-task gait balance control and computerized neurocognitive test performance between groups using independent samples t tests. Multivariable binary logistic regression models were then constructed for each testing time to determine the association between group membership (concussion vs control), dual-task gait balance control, and neurocognitive function.
Medial-lateral center-of-mass displacement during dual-task gait was independently associated with group membership at the initial test (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.432; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.269–4.661) and 2-month follow-up test (aOR, 1.817; 95% CI, 1.014–3.256) tests. Visual memory composite scores were significantly associated with group membership at the initial hour postinjury time point (aOR, .953; 95% CI, .833–.998). However, the combination of computerized neurocognitive test variables did not predict dual-task gait balance control for participants with concussion, and no single neurocognitive variable was associated with dual-task gait balance control at either testing time.
Dual-task assessments concurrently evaluating gait and cognitive performance may allow for the detection of persistent deficits beyond those detected by computerized neurocognitive deficits alone.
List of abbreviations:AUC (area under the curve), COM (center-of-mass), ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), PCSS (Post Concussion Symptom Scale)
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Published online: February 17, 2018
Supported by the Department of Defense TATRC Award (award no. W81XWH-11-1-0717), and the Eugene and Clarissa Evonuk Memorial Graduate Fellowship in Environmental, Cardiovascular, or Stress Physiology.
© 2018 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine