A common cognitive profile in elderly fallers and in patients with Parkinson's disease: The prominence of impaired executive function and attention

Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Glen M. Doniger, Shmuel Springer, Galit Yogev, Nir Giladi, Ely S. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study examined the cognitive profile of elderly fallers relative to healthy elderly controls and patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), a positive-control group, using a computerized battery. Fallers performed more poorly than controls on executive function, attention, and motor skills, but performed comparably on memory, information processing and the Mini-Mental State Examination. A similar profile was evident for PD patients. However, unlike PD patients, fallers were abnormally inconsistent in their reaction times. These findings indicate that elderly fallers may have a unique cognitive processing deficit (i.e., variability of response timing) and underscore the importance of executive function and attention as potential targets for fall risk screening and interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-429
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 4 August 2005; accepted 20 October 2005. This work was supported in part by grants from the NIA, NICHD, NCRR, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, and the National Parkinson Foundation. The authors thank Prof. David Zucker for statistical support and Talia Herman and Leor Gruendlinger for invaluable assistance. Address correspondence to Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, PhD, Harvard Medical School Division on Aging, 643 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA. E-mail: jhausdor@bidmc.harvard.edu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • General Psychology
  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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