Distinct cortical thickness patterns link disparate cerebral cortex regions to select mobility domains

Inbal Maidan*, Anat Mirelman, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Yaakov Stern, Christian G. Habeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cortical control of gait and mobility involves multiple brain regions. Therefore, one could speculate that the association between specific spatial patterns of cortical thickness may be differentially associated with different mobility domains. To test this possibility, 115 healthy participants aged 27–82 (mean 60.5 ± 13.8) underwent a mobility assessment (usual-walk, dual-task walk, Timed Up and Go) and MRI scan. Ten mobility domains of relatively simple (e.g., usual-walking) and complex tasks (i.e., dual task walking, turns, transitions) and cortical thickness of 68 ROIs were extracted. All associations between mobility and cortical thickness were controlled for age and gender. Scaled Subprofile Modelling (SSM), a PCA-regression, identified thickness patterns that were correlated with the individual mobility domains, controlling for multiple comparisons. We found that lower mean global cortical thickness was correlated with worse general mobility (r = − 0.296, p = 0.003), as measured by the time to complete the Timed Up and Go test. Three distinct patterns of cortical thickness were associated with three different gait domains during simple, usual-walking: pace, rhythm, and symmetry. In contrast, cortical thickness patterns were not related to the more complex mobility domains. These findings demonstrate that robust and topographically distinct cortical thickness patterns are linked to select mobility domains during relatively simple walking, but not to more complex aspects of mobility. Functional connectivity may play a larger role in the more complex aspects of mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6600
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingF32AG053035, RF1AG038465, R01 AG026158


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