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

Exp Aging Res. 2006 Oct-Dec;32(4):411-29. doi: 10.1080/03610730600875817.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time