Age-related differences in arm and trunk responses to first and repeated exposure to laterally induced imbalances
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AbstractThe objective of this study was to examine age-related differences in arm and trunk responses during first and repeated step induced balance perturbations. Young and older adults received 10 trials of unpredictable lateral platform translations. Outcomes included maximum arm and trunk displacement within 1 s of perturbation and at first foot lift off (FFLO), arm and neck muscle activity as recorded using electromyography (EMG), initial step type, balance confidence, and percentage of harness-assisted trials. Compared to young adults, older adults demonstrated greater arm and trunk angular displacements during the first trial, which were present at FFLO and negatively associated with balance confidence. Unlike young adults, recovery steps in older adults were directed towards the fall with a narrowed base of support. Over repeated trials, rapid habituation of first-trial responses of bilateral arm and trunk displacement and EMG amplitude was demonstrated in young adults, but was absent or limited in older adults. Older adults also relied more on harness assistance during balance recovery. Exaggerated arm and trunk responses to sudden lateral balance perturbations in older adults appear to influence step type and balance recovery. Associations of these persistently amplified movements with an increased reliance on harness assistance suggest that training to reduce these deficits could have positive effects in older adults with and without neurological disorders. © 2020 by the authors.
SponsorsThis work was supported by the National Institute of Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIA R03 AG060290-01, NIA P30 AG028747), and the Baltimore VA Medical Center Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (JDS).
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/13646