Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso


The objectives of this thesis were; 1) to assess the effect of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) burden on motor outcomes among older individuals in presence and absence of overt neurological conditions and 2) to evaluate whether physical activity (PA) moderated the association between WMH and gait velocity and stride time variability (STV), under single and dual-task conditions, in a geriatric clinic sample. Study 1 systematically reviewed the literature demonstrating that greater WMH burden was associated with predefined motor outcomes. Notably, gait velocity emerged as a well-studied characteristic. Study 2 confirmed that WMH negatively affected gait velocity. STV and dual-task gait conditions did not reveal significance. Additionally, PA did not moderate the association between WMH and gait velocity, although conditional effects showed significance for low and moderate levels of PA. This finding extends support for the efficacy of physical activity in attenuating the effects of WMH on mobility.