Reactive Postural Responses to Continuous Yaw Perturbations in Healthy Humans: The Effect of Aging

Ilaria Mileti, Juri Taborri, Stefano Rossi, Zaccaria Del Prete, Marco Paoloni, Antonio Suppa, Eduardo Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Maintaining balance stability while turning in a quasi-static stance and/or in dynamic motion requires proper recovery mechanisms to manage sudden center-of-mass displacement. Furthermore, falls during turning are among the main concerns of community-dwelling elderly population. This study investigates the effect of aging on reactive postural responses to continuous yaw perturbations on a cohort of 10 young adults (mean age 28 ± 3 years old) and 10 older adults (mean age 61 ± 4 years old). Subjects underwent external continuous yaw perturbations provided by the RotoBit1D platform. Different conditions of visual feedback (eyes opened and eyes closed) and perturbation intensity, i.e., sinusoidal rotations on the horizontal plane at different frequencies (0.2 Hz and 0.3 Hz), were applied. Kinematics of axial body segments was gathered using three inertial measurement units. In order to measure reactive postural responses, we measured body-absolute and joint absolute rotations, center-of-mass displacement, body sway, and inter-joint coordination. Older adults showed significant reduction in horizontal rotations of body segments and joints, as well as in center-of-mass displacement. Furthermore, older adults manifested a greater variability in reactive postural responses than younger adults. The abnormal reactive postural responses observed in older adults might contribute to the well-known age-related difficulty in dealing with balance control during turning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2019

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