Quiet stance is impacted by Parkinson’s disease and dual-tasking. Recently developed outcomes such as the time-to-boundary provide unique insight into balance by integrating center of pressure position with base of support. However, little is known about the effects of Parkinson’s disease on time-to-boundary. In particular, the effects of distracting cognitive tasks, and how people with Parkinson’s disease prioritize balance and cognitive tasks are poorly understood.
14 people with Parkinson’s disease and 13 controls completed quiet standing and cognitive Stroop tasks separately (single-task) and together (dual-task). 2-dimentional, medio-lateral, and anterior-posterior time-to-boundary were calculated via force-plate data. Traditional sway outcomes, including sway area and path length, were also calculated. Cognitive performance was measured as the verbal reaction time after auditory stimulus delivery. Prioritization was assessed by taking the difference between cognitive and postural dual-task interference.
Time-to-boundary was worse in Parkinson’s disease compared to controls (2-dimentional: p = .019; anterior-posterior: p = .062; medio-lateral: p = .012). Medio-lateral time-to-boundary, but not anterior-posterior, was significantly worse during dual-tasking than single-tasking (p = .024). Neurotypical adults tended to prioritize cognition over medio-lateral postural outcomes.
People with Parkinson’s disease exhibit worse time-to-boundary than their neurotypical peers, and medio-lateral outcomes were sensitive to single to dual-task performance changes. Further, participants generally showed cognitive prioritization, such that cognitive performance was less impacted than medio-lateral postural outcomes by dual-tasking.

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