Association between dual-task function and neuropsychological testing in older adults with cognitive impairment

Kelsi Petrillo, Bilaval Javed, Nima Toosizadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite the current high prevalence of dementia, more than half of older adult patients never receive an evaluation. Current evaluation methods are lengthy, cumbersome, and not viable for busy clinics. This indicates that, despite recent improvements, a quick and objective routine test for screening cognitive decline in older adults is still needed. Poor dual-task gait performance has been previously associated with decreased executive and neuropsychological function. However, gait tests are not always viable for clinics or older patients. Methods: The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between a novel upper-extremity function (UEF) dual-task performance and neuropsychological test results in older adults. For UEF dual-tasks, participants performed a consistent elbow flexion and extension, while counting backwards in increments of threes or ones. Wearable motion sensors were attached to the forearm and upper-arm to measure accuracy and speed of elbow flexion kinematics to calculate a UEF cognitive score. Results: We recruited older adults at three stages: cognitively normal (CN) (n = 35), mild cognitively impaired (MCI) of the Alzheimer's type (n = 34), and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 22). The results demonstrate significant correlations between UEF cognitive score and mini-mental state examination (MMSE), Mini-Cog, Category fluency, Benson complex figure copy, Trail making test, and Montreal cognitive assessment (MOCA) (r values between −0.2355 and −0.6037 and p < 0.0288). Discussion: UEF dual-task was associated with executive function, orientation, repetition, abstraction, verbal recall, attention and calculation, language and visual construction. Of the associated brain domains, UEF dual-task was most significantly associated with executive function, visual construction, and delayed recall. The results from this study convey potential for UEF dual-task as a safe and convenient cognitive impairment screening method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112223
JournalExperimental Gerontology
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dual-task
  • Motor function
  • Neuropsychological testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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