Effect of Aging on Anticipatory Postural Adjustment and Reaction Times in the Pre-Crossing Phase of Obstacle Negotiation


Background: Obstacle crossing is the common reason of falling in older adults. Anticipatory postural adjustments phase (APAP) and reaction time phase (RTP) are two important factors in falling prediction. According to previous studies, these parameters increase in older adults at high risk falling. This study explored the effect of aging on APAP and RTP in obstacle negotiation. Method: Nineteen older adults (mean age: 66.73 ± 3.38 years) and twelve young adults (mean age: 26.5 ± 4.37 years), participated in this study. Participants take part in gait initiation task from a starting position on a force platform under two conditions, unobstructed and obstructed (obstacle placed at 1 m from the initial position). RTP and APAP were measured and Timed “Up” & “Go” test (TUG) as a functional test, recorded for all participants. Results: There was no significant difference between healthy young and older adults in RTP and APAP in the unobstructed and obstructed conditions. TUG test was the most sensitive indicator of falling between two groups. Conclusion: Information processing capacity for motor planning and proper strategy selection in pre crossing phase of obstacle negotiation did not have significant difference in healthy old and young groups. Maybe in respect to select healthy older adults without any neurological disorders and cognitive impairments, low attention demand of well learned walking and obstacle negotiation tasks, lead to perform both postural task more automatically and without any significant difference detection.

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Hayati, M. , Talebian, S. , Ashayeri, H. and Moghadam, B. (2015) Effect of Aging on Anticipatory Postural Adjustment and Reaction Times in the Pre-Crossing Phase of Obstacle Negotiation. Advances in Aging Research, 4, 161-167. doi: 10.4236/aar.2015.45017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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