The interplay between gait, falls and cognition: can cognitive therapy reduce fall risk?

Expert Rev Neurother. 2011 Jul;11(7):1057-75. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.69.


In this article, we briefly summarize the incidence and significant consequences of falls among older adults, the insufficient effectiveness of commonly used multifactorial interventions and the evidence linking falls and cognitive function. Recent pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic studies that evaluated the effects of cognitive therapy on fall risk are reviewed. The results of this article illustrate the potential utility of multiple, diverse forms of cognitive therapy for reducing fall risk. The article also indicates that large-scale, randomized controlled trials are warranted and that additional research is needed to better understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying the interplay between human mobility, fall risk and cognitive function. Nonetheless, we suggest that multimodality interventions that combine motor and cognitive therapy should, eventually, be incorporated into clinical practice to enable older adults and patients to move safer and with a reduced fall risk.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans