The effects of a single 3-mg dose of melatonin on the postural control and cognitive performance of community-dwelling older adults were documented. The testing involved stepping down while performing a cognitive task (a Stroop test). Thirty-four older adults were recruited. Immediately before and 1 hr after taking a dose of melatonin, they completed a single-leg standing task after stepping down with and without a simultaneous Stroop test, and a double-leg standing task. The findings indicated a statistically significant increase in sway area under the dual-tasking condition after taking melatonin (p = .04) and the double-leg standing task (p = .018). However, cognitive performance per se was not affected by the melatonin. Melatonin impairs postural control in older adults but not cognitive performance.
Keywords: Stroop tests; cognition; dual tasking; melatonin; older adults; postural control.