Background: Tools to identify individuals at preclinical stages of dementia disorders are needed to enable early interventions. Alterations in dual-task performance have been detected early in progressive neurodegenerative disorders. Hence, dual-task testing may have the potential to screen for cognitive impairment caused by neurodegeneration. Exploring correlations between dual-task performance and biomarkers of neurodegeneration is therefore of interest.
Objective: To investigate correlations between Timed Up-and-Go dual-task (TUGdt) outcomes and Alzheimer's disease (AD) cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid-β 42 (Aβ42), total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau).
Methods: This cross-sectional cohort study included 90 participants (age range 49-84 years) undergoing memory assessment, who were subsequently diagnosed with AD, other dementia disorders, mild cognitive impairment, or subjective cognitive impairment. TUG combined with "Naming Animals" (TUGdt NA) and "Months Backwards" (TUGdt MB), respectively, were used to assess dual-task performance. The number of correct words and time taken to complete the tests were measured. The CSF biomarkers were analysed by ELISA. Spearman's rank correlation was used for analyses between TUGdt outcomes (TUGdt NA and TUGdt MB), and CSF biomarkers, adjusted for age, gender, and educational level.
Results: The number of correct words, as well as the number of correct words/10 s during TUGdt NA correlated negatively to CSF t-tau and p-tau. No correlations were found between any time scores and CSF biomarkers.
Conclusion: The correlations between TUGdt NA and t-tau and p-tau may indicate that neurodegeneration affects dual-task performance. Longitudinal studies are needed to further explore dual-task testing in screening for cognitive impairment due to neurodegeneration.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; attention; biomarkers; cerebrospinal fluid; dementia; executive function; gait; mild cognitive impairment; subjective cognitive impairment.