Objective: To examine the task prioritization effects on postural-suprapostural dual-task performance in patients with early-stage Parkinson disease (PD) without clinically observed postural symptoms. Design: Cross-sectional study. Participants performed a force-matching task while standing on a mobile platform, and were instructed to focus their attention on either the postural task (posture-first strategy) or the force-matching task (posture-second strategy). Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Individuals (N=16) with early-stage PD who had no clinically observed postural symptoms. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Dual-task change (DTC; percent change between single-task and dual-task performance) of posture error, posture approximate entropy (ApEn), force error, and reaction time (RT). Positive DTC values indicate higher postural error, posture ApEn, force error, and force RT during dual-task conditions compared with single-task conditions. Results: Compared with the posture-first strategy, the posture-second strategy was associated with smaller DTC of posture error and force error, and greater DTC of posture ApEn. In contrast, greater DTC of force RT was observed under the posture-second strategy. Conclusions: Contrary to typical recommendations, our results suggest that the posture-second strategy may be an effective dual-task strategy in patients with early-stage PD who have no clinically observed postural symptoms in order to reduce the negative effect of dual tasking on performance and facilitate postural automaticity.
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