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Non-Significant Associations Between Measures of Inhibitory Control and Walking While Thinking in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation



The current study examined if inhibitory control measures were associated with the dual-task cost (DTC) of walking in 28 persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) and 28 matched controls without MS.


Cross-sectional study


University research laboratory


The sample included 28 ambulatory persons with relapsing-remitting MS (median Expanded Disability Status Scale score = 3.0) from the local community (26 female, 2 male) and 28 controls matched by age, sex, body mass index, and education.



Main Outcome Measures

All participants underwent a modified flanker task followed by four trials of the timed 25-foot walk. The first two trials involved walking as quickly as possible only (single-task condition), and the second two trials involved walking as quickly as possible while naming alternate letters of the alphabet (dual-task condition). Walking speed under single- and dual-task conditions was used to compute a DTC of walking.


Persons with MS demonstrated a similar DTC of walking compared with matched controls, but performed more poorly on inhibitory control measures. Interestingly, inhibitory control measures were not associated with DTC of walking in the MS sample (all |ρ|<.26,p>.19), but were associated with DTC of walking in controls (all |ρ|>.42,p<.03).


Inhibitory control based on modified flanker performance might not be associated with DTC of walking in persons with MS.

Keywords: Dual Task, Walking, Cognition, Multiple Sclerosis, Executive Control, Cognitive Processing Speed, Inhibitory Control, T25FW.

Abbreviations: ANOVA - analysis of variance, BMI - body mass index, CMI - cognitive-motor interference, CoV - Coefficient of Variation, CPS - cognitive processing speed, DTC - dual-task cost, EDSS - Expanded Disability Status Scale, MS - multiple sclerosis, MSNQ - Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Questionnaire, NIH - National Institutes of Health, SDMT - Symbol Digit Modalities Test, T25FW - timed 25-foot walk.


1 Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2 Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Correspondence to Robert W. Motl, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, 233 Freer Hall, 906 South Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA, phone 1-217-265-0886, fax 1-217-244-7322.

Disclosure: Dr. Benedict reports grants and personal fees from Biogen Idec, grants and personal fees from Novartis, grants and personal fees from Genzyme, personal fees from Genentech, personal fees from EMD Serono, grants from Accorda, and grants from Questcor outside the submitted work; In addition, Dr. Benedict has a patent with Psychological Assessment Resources with royalties paid.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

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