The researchers discovered that a single dose of methylphenidate (MPH), used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, helps to ameliorate balance control during walking, and hence helps in reducing the risk of falls among elderly adults.
Falls in older adults are the leading cause of hip fractures and other injury-related visits to emergency rooms and of accidental death. Age-related deterioration in balance and gait is a major contributor to falls in older adults.
The researchers found that a single dose of MPH improves walking by reducing the number of step errors and the step error rate in both single and dual tasks. The results also add to a growing body of evidence showing that MPH may have a role as a therapeutic option for improving gait and reducing fall risk in older adults
This is particularly true in real-life situations, where the requirement to walk commonly takes place under more difficult, ‘dual task’ circumstances with cognitive attention focused elsewhere (e.g., watching traffic, talking) and not on performing a specific motor task.
The study participants were 30 healthy older adults who were at least 70 years-old and had the ability to walk 70 feet (20 meters) without personal assistance or an assistive device. They were given a single dose (10 mg.) of MPH and were assessed under four task conditions of single and combined motor and cognitive tasks.
The enhanced attention that comes about as a result of MPH may lead to improved balance control during walking, particularly in dual task conditions.
The findings that MPH improves gait can be signified not just by its effect of attentional improvements, but also by indications that it has a direct influence on areas of the brain that deal with motor and balance control.
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Andy decosta completed his graduation in Biotechnology and also did PhD in Bio-pharmacology. He works as a medical consultant for kamagrarx.co