Abstract Background Structural and functional brain imaging methods have identified age-related changes in brain structures involved in gait control. This cross-sectional study aims to investigate gray matter networks associated with gait control in aging using structural covariance analysis. Methods Walking speed were measured in 326 non-demented older community-dwellers (age 71.3±4.5; 41.7% female) under three different walking conditions: normal walking and two challenging tasks: motor (i.e.; fast speed) and an attention-demanding dual task (i.e.; backward counting). Results Three main individual gray matter regions were positively correlated with walking speed (i.e.; slower walking speed was associated with lower brain volumes): right thalamus, right caudate nucleus and left middle frontal gyrus for normal walking, rapid walking and dual-task walking condition, respectively. The structural covariance analysis revealed that prefrontal regions were part of the networks associated with every walking condition; the right caudate was associated specifically with the hippocampus, amygdala and insula for the rapid walking condition and the left middle frontal gyrus with a network involving the cuneus for the dual-task condition. Conclusion Our results suggest that brain networks associated with gait control vary according to walking speed and depend on each walking condition. Gait control in aging involved a distributed network including regions for emotional control that are recruited in challenging walking conditions. Gait, neuroimaging, anatomical structural covariance, motor control, aging © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences – Oxford University Press
Published: May 26, 2018
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