Increased pfc activation during challenging walking using fNIRS

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Increased prefrontal cortical activation during challenging walking conditions in persons with lower limb amputation – an fNIRS observational study.

Background: Lower limb amputation (LLA) alters the sensorimotor control systems. Despite the self-reports of increased attention during mobility, the interaction between mobility and cognitive control mechanisms is not fully understood.Objective: Concurrently evaluate walking performance and prefrontal cortical (PFC) activity in persons with and without LLA during different walking conditions.Methods: Thirty-nine persons with LLA and thirty-three able-bodied controls participated. Walking performance was evaluated using the Figure-of 8-walk-test during three conditions: 1) UW (Usual walking with self-selected walking speed); 2) WCT (walking and carrying a tray with two cups filled with water); and 3) WUT (walking on uneven terrain). PFC activity was assessed using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Linear mixed models were used to detect changes between groups and between walking conditions within each group.Results: Between-group comparisons showed increased PFC activity in persons with LLA during UW and WUT, and a significant decrease in walking performance during WCT and WUT compared to controls. Within-group comparisons showed increased PFC activity during WUT compared with UW and WCT and an overall difference in walking performance between the conditions (WU > WUT > WCT) in both groups. However, the effect of walking condition on PFC activity and walking performance was not modified by group (P > .1).Conclusion: The results suggest that persons with LLA have increased attentional demands during walking but choose the same cognitive-mobility strategy during challenging walking conditions as able-bodied persons. However, the attentional demands seem to depend on the complexity of the task.

PMID: 32367750 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Physiother Theory Pract. 2020 May 05;:1-11

Authors: Schack J, Pripp AH, Mirtaheri P, Steen H, Güler E, Gjøvaag T