Changes in the EEG spectral power during dual-task walking with aging and Parkinson’s disease: initial findings using Event-Related Spectral Perturbation analysis



The ability to maintain adequate motor-cognitive performance under increasing task demands depends on the regulation and coordination of neural resources. Studies have shown that such resources diminish with aging and disease. EEG spectral analysis is a method that has the potential to provide insight into neural alterations affecting motor-cognitive performance. The aim of this study was to assess changes in spectral analysis during dual-task walking in aging and disease


10 young adults, ten older adults, and ten patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) completed an auditory oddball task while standing and while walking on a treadmill. Spectral power within four frequency bandwidths, delta (< 4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), and beta (12–30 Hz), was calculated using Event-Related Spectral Perturbation (ERSP) analyses and compared between single task and dual task and between groups.


Differences in ERSP were found in all groups between the single and dual-task conditions. In response to dual-task walking, beta increased in all groups (p < 0.026), delta decreased in young adults (p = 0.03) and patients with PD (0.015) while theta increased in young adults (p = 0.028) but decreased in older adults (p = 0.02) and patients with PD (p = 0.015). Differences were seen between the young, the older adults, and the patients with PD.


These findings are the first to show changes in the power of different frequency bands during dual-task walking with aging and disease. These specific brain modulations may reflect deficits in readiness and allocation of attention that may be responsible for the deficits in dual-task performance.

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We thank the research participants and the research assistants for their time and effort.


No funding was received.

Author information




IM, FF, JH, NG, and AM contributed to the concept and rationale for the study. DP, RS and IM contributed to data analysis. DP, FF, RS, AM, and IM contributed to the interpretation of the results and to the drafting of the manuscript. All authors participated in the approval of the final manuscript and take responsibility for the content and interpretation of this article.

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Correspondence to Inbal Maidan.

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The study was approved by local ethical committee and was performed according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

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All participants gave their informed written consent prior to participation.

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Possti, D., Fahoum, F., Sosnik, R. et al. Changes in the EEG spectral power during dual-task walking with aging and Parkinson’s disease: initial findings using Event-Related Spectral Perturbation analysis. J Neurol 268, 161–168 (2021).

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  • EEG
  • Gait
  • Dual-tasking
  • Parkinson’s disease