Parkinson’s Disease Patients Have Trouble Walking, Talking at the Same Time.
Posted Sep 27 2010 9:52am
New Research Says Parkies Can
I first noticed this in my Parkinson’s disease progression during my final 8-day “droolfest” with my brain buddies in Nashville in early 2009.
We were walking from the Vanderbilt Medical Center North to a nice little restaurant and I realized it was difficult for me to walk and talk at the same time. The other fellas were chatting away, and I’d turn to say something and almost stumble. And this was BEFORE I started having the serious problem with walking and balance. Now, clinical research indicates that this does not necessarily mean I am a stumble bum. (It doesn’t say I’m NOT a stumble bum, either. In fact, the tone of the article is quite neutral on the subject of my stumble bummery.)
A new study found that with Parkinson’s disease altered their gait, stride length, step velocity and the time they spent stabilizing on two feet when asked to perform increasingly difficult verbal tasks while walking. But the real surprise was that even older adults without a neurological impairment demonstrated similar difficulties walking and talking.
A disruption in gait could place Parkinson’s patients and the elderly at an increased risk of falls, according to the Florida State researchers.
Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Science and Disorders Leonard L. LaPointe and co-authors Julie A.G. Stierwalt, associate professor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders, and Charles G. Maitland, professor of in the College of , outlined their findings in “Talking while walking: Cognitive loading and injurious falls in Parkinson’s disease.” The study will be published in the October issue of the International Journal of .
“These results suggest that it might be prudent for professionals and caregivers to alter expectations and monitor cognitive-linguistic demands placed on these individuals while they are walking, particularly during increased risk situations such as descending stairs, in low-light conditions or avoiding obstructions,” LaPointe said.
In other words, don’t ask an elderly person or someone with Parkinson’s to give directions or provide a thoughtful response to a complicated question while walking.
In fact, just leave me alone. (I’m kidding. I’m a kidder. I kid because I love.)
Actually, now that I’m having major difficulties walking with NO distractions, I find I have to stop walking completely to do almost anything. To get a tissue out of my pocket, to check my cell phone, no can do! Must concentrate on each step.
Gail makes me walk in front of her at the store. That way she gets to enjoy watching me fall. (SHE says it’s so she can try to catch me, but WE know the truth… whoever WE is…) If she says something to me requiring a response, I have to stop. If I think of something I want to say to her, I have to stop.
So, once again, Medical Science has spent God knows HOW many gazillions of samolians to get answers to a question I would have HAPPILY answered for FREE! (Just give me a decent cut on the royalties from the paper you’ll publish, and we’ll call it even.)
So, if we’re out walking, don’t try to engage me in deep conversation…
Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. They are also the most common cause of non-fatal-injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.