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Delayed postural control during self-generated perturbations in the frail older adults

Authors Kubicki A, Bonnetblanc, Petrement, Ballay, Mourey F

Received 17 November 2011

Accepted for publication 18 January 2012

Published 29 February 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 65—75


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Alexandre Kubicki1–3, François Bonnetblanc1,2, Geoffroy Petrement3, Yves Ballay1,2, France Mourey2,4

¹UFR STAPS, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France; ²Motricité et Plasticité, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Dijon, France; ³SARL Fovea Interactive, Campus Industriel – Espace Entreprises, Chalon sur Saône, France; 4UFR Médecine, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the coordination between posture and movement in pathological aging (frailty) in comparison with normal aging, with the hypothesis that in pathological aging, postural control evolves towards a more reactive mode for which the perturbation induced by the movement is not anticipated and leads to delayed and late postural adjustments.
Methods: Elderly subjects performed rapid focal arm-raising movements towards a target, from an upright standing position in two stimuli conditions: simple reaction time and choice reaction time (CRT). Hand and center of pressure (CoP) kinematics were compared between a control group and a frail group of the same age.
Results: In frail individuals, the entire movement was impaired and slowed down. In addition, postural adjustments that classically precede and accompany the focal arm movement were delayed and reduced, especially in the CRT condition in which the motor prediction is more limited. Finally, a correlation between the time to CoP maximal velocity and the timed up-and-go score was observed.
Conclusion: In these patients, it was concluded that the control of the CoP displacement evolved from a proactive mode in which the perturbation associated with the arm movement is anticipated toward a more reactive mode in which the perturbation is compensated by late and delayed adjustments.

Keywords: frailty, anticipatory postural adjustments, backward disequilibrium

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