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Walking while talking 'puts Parkinson's patients at risk'

Walking while talking 'puts Parkinson's patients at risk'
23rd September 2010

Parkinson's patients in residential care homes could be at greater risk of falls if they talk while walking.

Older adults that have Parkinson's disease altered their gait when performing difficult verbal tasks while walking, research by scientists at Florida State University has shown.

Difficulties walking and talking were also recorded among older adults without any neurological impairments.

Commenting on the findings, which are published in the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, researcher Leonard LaPointe explained: "These results suggest that it might be prudent for health care professionals and caregivers to alter expectations and monitor cognitive-linguistic demands placed on these individuals while they are walking."

He added that this is may be particularly important in "risk situations", such as descending stairs or in low light conditions.

Recent research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences aimed at offering insight into why some people with Parkinson's develop the condition without any family history of the disease.

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