Falls are the second most frequent cause of injury in the elderly. Physiological processes associated with aging affect the elderly's ability to respond to unexpected balance perturbations, leading to increased fall risk. Every year, approximately 30% of adults, 65 years and older, experiences at least one fall. Investigating the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the control of static and dynamic balance in the elderly is an emerging research area. The study aimed to identify cortical and muscular correlates during static and dynamic balance tests in a cohort of young and old healthy adults. We recorded cortical and muscular activity in nine elderly and eight younger healthy participants during an upright stance task in static and dynamic (core board) conditions. To simulate real-life dual-task postural control conditions, the second set of experiments incorporated an oddball visual task. We observed higher electroencephalographic (EEG) delta rhythm over the anterior cortex in the elderly and more diffused fast rhythms (i.e., alpha, beta, gamma) in younger participants during the static balance tests. When adding a visual oddball, the elderly displayed an increase in theta activation over the sensorimotor and occipital cortices. During the dynamic balance tests, the elderly showed the recruitment of sensorimotor areas and increased muscle activity level, suggesting a preferential motor strategy for postural control. This strategy was even more prominent during the oddball task. Younger participants showed reduced cortical and muscular activity compared to the elderly, with the noteworthy difference of a preferential activation of occipital areas that increased during the oddball task. These results support the hypothesis that different strategies are used by the elderly compared to younger adults during postural tasks, particularly when postural and cognitive tasks are combined. The knowledge gained in this study could inform the development of age-specific rehabilitative and assistive interventions.

Cortical correlates in upright dynamic and static balance in the elderly

Rubega, Maria;Formaggio, Emanuela;Di Marco, Roberto;Bertuccelli, Margherita;Tortora, Stefano;Menegatti, Emanuele;Cattelan, Manuela;Masiero, Stefano;Del Felice, Alessandra
2021

Abstract

Falls are the second most frequent cause of injury in the elderly. Physiological processes associated with aging affect the elderly's ability to respond to unexpected balance perturbations, leading to increased fall risk. Every year, approximately 30% of adults, 65 years and older, experiences at least one fall. Investigating the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the control of static and dynamic balance in the elderly is an emerging research area. The study aimed to identify cortical and muscular correlates during static and dynamic balance tests in a cohort of young and old healthy adults. We recorded cortical and muscular activity in nine elderly and eight younger healthy participants during an upright stance task in static and dynamic (core board) conditions. To simulate real-life dual-task postural control conditions, the second set of experiments incorporated an oddball visual task. We observed higher electroencephalographic (EEG) delta rhythm over the anterior cortex in the elderly and more diffused fast rhythms (i.e., alpha, beta, gamma) in younger participants during the static balance tests. When adding a visual oddball, the elderly displayed an increase in theta activation over the sensorimotor and occipital cortices. During the dynamic balance tests, the elderly showed the recruitment of sensorimotor areas and increased muscle activity level, suggesting a preferential motor strategy for postural control. This strategy was even more prominent during the oddball task. Younger participants showed reduced cortical and muscular activity compared to the elderly, with the noteworthy difference of a preferential activation of occipital areas that increased during the oddball task. These results support the hypothesis that different strategies are used by the elderly compared to younger adults during postural tasks, particularly when postural and cognitive tasks are combined. The knowledge gained in this study could inform the development of age-specific rehabilitative and assistive interventions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3395906
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