INTRODUCTION: Dual-task performance assessment is a holistic approach that incorporates both motor and cognitive assessment. However, there is scarce data on the relationship between dual-task walking and cognitive functions in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). The aim was to investigate the relationship between dual-task walking and cognitive functions in pwMS.
METHODS: This study analyzed 156 patients (median age 35 years, 73.1% female). Timed Up and Go tests (TUG), with and without cognitive task (TUG), were performed to assess dual-task performance. Dual-task cost (DTC) was calculated. Cognitive information processing speed, visuospatial memory, and verbal memory were assessed using a Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS (BICAMS).
RESULTS: The DTC was 11.8%. The TUG-cog tests were moderately correlated with all subtests of BICAMS (r=-0.322 to -0.440). However, DTC has a significant but small correlation with cognitive tests (r=0.227-0.254). Disability level was the significant predictor of dual-task performance.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm that higher dual-task performance is significantly associated with better cognitive processing speed, visuospatial memory, and verbal memory in pwMS. This result may facilitate the use of dual-tasking paradigms in studies on cognitive impairment screening methods. However, such research undertakings should be supported by longitudinal studies.