The following is a summary of “Gray matter loss relates to dual task gait in Lewy body disorders and aging,” published in the October 2023 issue of Neurology by Subotic et al.
Lewy body disorders (LBD), including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), cause gait and balance problems, which are worse during dual-task (DT) activities.
Researchers launched a retrospective study investigating the relationship between LBD’s gray matter volume loss and dual-task gait variations.
They involved 79 participants, comprising individuals with cognitively unimpaired PD, PD with mild cognitive impairment, PD with dementia (PDD), or DLB, alongside 20 cognitively unimpaired controls. PDD and DLB were combined for analyses. Differences in gait speed between single and DT conditions were measured using dual-task cost (DTC). FreeSurfer measured brain volumes (cortical, subcortical, ventricle, and cerebellum). Linear regression models assessed the connection between gray matter volumes and DTC.
The results showed decreased amygdala and total cortical volumes and increased ventricle volumes correlated with a heightened DTC among individuals with LBD and cognitively unimpaired controls. There were no statistically significant interactions between group and brain volumes. Independent of the models, introducing cognitive and motor covariates, or white matter hyperintensity volumes, did not alter the associations between brain volumes and DTC.
Investigators concluded that gray matter loss is linked to worse dual-task gait performance in LBD and aging.