Walking and cognition are interrelated due to dependence on shared brain regions that include the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Limited literature indicates that asthma is associated with poor mobility in older adults but the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unknown. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that asthma history was associated with poor gait performance due to limited attention resources and neural inefficiency. Participants, older adults age ≥ 65 years reporting positive (n = 36) and negative (n = 36) history of asthma, walked under single and dual-task conditions with a functional near-infrared-spectroscopy (fNIRS) sensor placed on their forehead to assess task-related changes in PFC oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO2). Results showed that positive asthma history was associated with slower gait and higher fNIRS-derived HbO2 under dual-task walking. These findings suggest that limited attention resources and neural inefficiency underlie the association between asthma and poor walking performance in older adults.
- Dual task
- Functional near-infrared spectroscopy
- Prefrontal cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology