The aims of this study were to analyze the effects of cognitive task on static posture in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in healthy elderly (HE) subjects and to evaluate whether those effects were greater in AD subjects than in HE subjects. We performed a posturographic analysis on 13 subjects with mild AD (mean age, 79.7+/-5.1 years, Mini-Mental State Examination scores between 18 and 23) and on 17 HE subjects (mean age, 78.5+/-4.4 years). After watching a video sequence, the subjects were asked to maintain a stable upright posture while standing on a force platform. Then, the postural sway was measured during the following two conditions: (1) quiet standing and (2) both standing and answering questions about the video sequence. We were interested in the center of pressure (CoP) area and path. For each group, the single task was compared to the dual task for the CoP area and path. We also compared the variability of both CoP area (variation of the CoP area between the single and the dual task) and path (variation of the CoP path between the single and the dual task) between the two groups. We showed that there was no significant difference between the single and the dual task in HE subjects concerning the CoP area and path, in contrast to the AD group, and that variability of both the CoP area and path were significantly greater in the AD subjects than in the HE subjects. This finding may contribute to the risk of falls in AD patients.
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