Objective: The aim of this study was to explore whether attentional demands are involved in gait improvements in Parkinson disease (PD) patients when they walk on a treadmill.
Design: Nineteen individuals with idiopathic PD and 19 age-matched healthy controls participated in this study. Participants walked on a treadmill and on overground under single task (walk only) and dual task (walk performing a simultaneous cognitive task) conditions. The dual-task paradigm was used to reveal the attention allocation behavior. Gait pattern and cognitive performance was measured.
Results: The PD group showed reduced gait variability when walking on a treadmill in comparison with overground. However, this reduction did not deteriorate during the dual task. Moreover, there were no differences in the cognitive performance between treadmill and overground walking.
Conclusions: This study does not support the proposition attentional resource allocation as a possible mechanism for the treadmill-associated gait improvements observed in PD.