Article

A dual-task study of interference between mental activity and control of balance

Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden
The American journal of otology 10/1998; 19(5):632-7.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to examine interference between mental activity and control of balance.
In a mixed design, dual-task study, the performance of patients and healthy control subjects was compared on computerized dynamic posturography, on a visuospatial mental task, and when performing the mental task while balancing.
The study was performed at a tertiary referral outpatient neuro-otology clinic.
The patient group comprised 24 patients seen consecutively at the clinic because of vertigo and dizziness. The control group consisted of 24 subjects with no complaint or medical history of dizziness or balance disorder, matched with the patients for age and gender.
Performance on a visuospatial mental task and on the computerized dynamic posturography test (conditions 4 and 5) was measured.
Balancing on the posturography test resulted in a deterioration in performance on the mental task for both patients and control subjects. The effect was more marked when subjects had their eyes closed. Results on the balance test showed that normal subjects and patients with normal balance also swayed more when performing the mental task, whereas patients who had failed the posturography test swayed less when performing the mental task.
These results show that mental performance deteriorates when performing a demanding balance task. In addition, in both normal subjects and patients, balance also may be affected by mental activity in complex and varied ways that merit further investigation.

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Available from: Gerhard Andersson, Aug 31, 2015
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    • "the alerting network is the only attentional component to be gradually modulated by the difficulty of the postural task, (b) increasing balance difficulty improves the level of alerting, and (c) seated and upright positions induce a similar improvement of orienting and executive control components of attention relative to the supine position. An improvement of attention performance in the most stable position (supine) was expected because this posture required very few attentional resources (Andersson, Hagman, Talianzadeh, Svedberg, & Larsen, 2002; Andersson et al., 1998; Barra et al., 2006; Brauer et al., 2001; Rapp et al., 2006; Riley et al., 2003; Simoneau et al., 2008; Vuillerme et al., 2000). In fact, the main finding of this study revealed the reverse pattern as we showed that the more difficult the balance control became, the more participants became alert. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Numerous studies using dual-task paradigms (postural and cognitive) have shown that postural control requires cognitive resources. However, the influence of postural control on attention components has never been directly addressed. Method: Using the attention network test (ANT), which assesses specifically each of the 3 components of attention-alertness, orientation, and executive control-within a single paradigm, we investigated the effect of postural balance demand on these 3 components. Forty-two participants completed the ANT in 3 postural conditions: (a) supine, a very stable position; (b) sitting on a chair, an intermediate position; and (c) standing with feet lined up heel to toe, a very instable position known as the Romberg position. Results: Our results revealed that the difficulty of postural control does modulate alerting in such a way that it improves with the level of instability of the position. Regarding the orienting and executive control components of attention, performance was not different when participants were standing upright or seated, whereas in the supine position, performance dropped. Conclusions: The strong and specific interaction between postural control and the alerting system suggests that these mechanisms may share parts of the underlying neural circuits. We discuss the possible implication of the locus coeruleus, known to be involved in both postural balance and alerting. Also, our findings concerning orienting and executive control systems suggest that supine posture could have a specific effect on cognitive activities. These effects are discussed in terms of particularities resulting from the supine position.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Neuropsychology
    • "the alerting network is the only attentional component to be gradually modulated by the difficulty of the postural task, (b) increasing balance difficulty improves the level of alerting, and (c) seated and upright positions induce a similar improvement of orienting and executive control components of attention relative to the supine position. An improvement of attention performance in the most stable position (supine) was expected because this posture required very few attentional resources (Andersson, Hagman, Talianzadeh, Svedberg, & Larsen, 2002; Andersson et al., 1998; Barra et al., 2006; Brauer et al., 2001; Rapp et al., 2006; Riley et al., 2003; Simoneau et al., 2008; Vuillerme et al., 2000). In fact, the main finding of this study revealed the reverse pattern as we showed that the more difficult the balance control became, the more participants became alert. "
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    ABSTRACT: De nombreuses études utilisant un paradigme de double tâche (posture-cognition) ont suggéré que le contrôle postural requiert des ressources attentionnelles. Les tâches cognitives utilisées dans ces études allaient d’un simple comptage à rebours à des tâches plus complexes (e.g. : tâche de Stroop modifiée). Cependant, l’influence du contrôle postural sur les capacités attentionnelles n’a jamais été testée directement. L’objectif de cette étude était d’investiguer l’impact du contrôle postural sur les différentes composantes attentionnelles en utilisant une tâche attentionnelle spécifique.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Neurophysiologie Clinique/Clinical Neurophysiology
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    • "It is often hypothesized that capacity limitations in attentional resources prevent subjects from maintaining the same level of performance when dividing attention between two tasks (Tombu and Jolicoeur 2003). However, this theory cannot explain why, under some dual-task conditions , improved postural or cognitive control is observed (Andersson et al. 1998; Dault et al. 2001; Swan et al. 2004; Vuillerme et al. 2000). Moreover, tasks requiring continuous interlimb coordination show evidence of compensatory age-related brain activation when sensorimotor demands increase (Goble et al. 2010; Heuninckx et al. 2008), suggesting that reduced brain resources may not be a limiting factor for older adults. "
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    ABSTRACT: Behavioral studies suggest that postural control requires increased cognitive control and visuospatial processing with aging. Consequently, performance can decline when concurrently performing a postural and a demanding cognitive task. We aimed to identify the neural substrate underlying this effect. A demanding cognitive task, requiring visuospatial transformations, was performed with varying postural loads. More specifically, old and young subjects performed mental rotations of abstract figures in a seated position and when standing on a force platform. Additionally, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to identify brain regions associated with mental rotation performance. Old as compared to young subjects showed increased blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses in a frontoparietal network as well as activations in additional areas. Despite this overall increased activation, they could still modulate BOLD responses with increasing task complexity. Importantly, activity in left lingual gyrus was highly predictive (r = −0.83, adjusted R 2 = 0.65) of the older subjects' degree of success in mental rotation performance when shifting from a sitting to a standing position. More specifically, increased activation in this area was associated with better performance, once postural load increased.
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