5 years ago

The effects of early stages of aging on postural sway: a multiple domain balance assessment using a force platform

Technical advancements in instrumentation and analytical methods have improved the ability of assessing balance control. This study investigated the effects of early stages of aging on postural sway using traditional and contemporary postural indices from different domains. Eleven healthy young adults and fourteen healthy non-faller older adults performed two postural tasks: (a) functional limits of stability and (b) unperturbed bipedal stance for 120 seconds. Postural indices from spatial, temporal, frequency, and structural domains were extracted from the body’s center of pressure (COP) signals and its Rambling and Trembling components. Results revealed a preservation of functional limits of upright stability in older adults accompanied by larger, faster, and shakier body sway in both anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions; increased medio-lateral sway frequency; increased irregularity of body sway pattern in time in both directions; and increased area, variability, velocity, and jerkiness of both rambling and trembling components of the COP displacement in the anterior-posterior direction (p < .02). Such changes might be interpreted as compensatory adjustments to the age-related decline of sensory, neural, and motor functions. In conclusion, balance assessment using postural indices from different domains extracted from the COP displacement was able to capture subtle effects of the natural process of aging on the mechanisms of postural control. Our findings suggest the use of such indices as potential markers for postural instability and fall risk in older adults.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0021929017304517

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