A comparison of prehension force control in young and elderly individuals

  • Hiroshi Kinoshita
  • Peter R. Francis
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02337726

Cite this article as:
Kinoshita, H. & Francis, P.R. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. (1996) 74: 450. doi:10.1007/BF02337726


Age-related changes were investigated in the control of precision grip force during the lifting and holding of objects with slippery (silk) and nonslippery (sandpaper) surface textures. Two groups of active elderly adults comprising individuals aged 69–79 years (n = 10), and 80–93 years (n = 10) together with a group of young adults aged 18–32 years (n = 10) participated in the study. Each subject lifted a free weight (3N) during which time gripping and lifting forces were monitored. The elderly subjects, especially the individuals in the 81–93 year group, had a larger number of fluctuations in the grip force rate curve and longer force application time than the younger subjects during lifting. The effect of prior experience with one surface on the following different surface was more pronounced in the younger subjects than the elderly subjects. These results suggest a decline in programmed force production capacity with increased age. The fingers of the elderly subjects were more slippery and they exhibited a greater safety margin of the grip force while holding the object than the younger adults. The overall results demonstrated that precision grip force control capacity declines with advancing age. It is suggested that this decline is due mainly to age-related changes in skin properties, and cutaneous sensibility functions, and in part to central nervous system function.

Key words

Aging Precision grip Friction Force Prehension 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Kinoshita
    • 1
  • Peter R. Francis
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Sports SciencesOsaka UniversityToyonaka-shi, OsakaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Exercise and Nutritional SciencesSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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