Advertisement

Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 155–161 | Cite as

The influence of aging and attentional demands on recovery from postural instability

  • G. E. Stelmach
  • H. N. Zelaznik
  • D. Lowe
Original Article

Abstract

It is well known that the risk of a debilitating injury from a fall is much higher for elderly than for young individuals. In addition, it is well documented that healthy elderly subjects exhibit increased postural sway during normal stance tasks. In the present experiment, we explored the notion that control of minor postural instability in elderly subjects is attention demanding. Postural sway of eight elderly (mean age = 70.0 years) and eight young (mean age = 20.0 years) subjects was measured under two different secondary demands during stable and mildly unstable upright stance. There were two types of work loads. Either a cognitive (math task) or motor (hand-squeeze) task was performed during the second segment of a 50-second standing trial. The effect of these work loads on mean velocity, range, and variability of range of center of foot pressure was measured during the destabilizing activity of arm swinging and subsequent recovery period. Following seven seconds of 1 Hz arm-swinging activity, elderly subjects showed a marked increase in recovery time to normal stance when concurrently performing an arithmetic task. This result suggests that recovery from a posturally destabilizing activity, involving proprioceptive and vestibular information, places increased attentional demands on the postural support system of the elderly. (Aging 2:155-161, 1990)

Key Words

Attention posture 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Stelmach G.E., Phillips J., DiFabio R.P., Teasdale N.: Age, functional postural reflexes, and voluntary sway. J. Gerontol. 44: B100–106, 1989.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Woollacott M.H., Shumway-Cook A., Nashner L.: Postural reflexes and aging. In: Mortimer J.A., Pirozzolo F.J., Maletta G.J. (Eds.), The Aging Motor System. Praeger, New York, 1982, pp.98–119.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sheldon J.H.: The effect of age on the control of sway. Gerontol. Clin. 5: 129–138, 1963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Corso J.F.: Sensory-perceptual processes and aging. Ann. Rev. Gerontol. Geriatr. 7: 29–55, 1987.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Diener H.C., Dichgans J., Guschlbauer B., Bacher M.: Role of visual and static vestibular influences on dynamic posture control. Hum. Neurobiol. 5: 105–113, 1986.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kellogg International Work Group: The prevention of falls in later life. A report of the Kellogg International Work Group on the Prevention of Falls by the Elderly. Dan. Med. Bull. 34: 1–24, 1987.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Woollacott M.H., Shumway-Cook A., Nashner L.M.: Aging and posture control: Changes in sensory organization and muscular coordination. Int. J. Aging Hum. Dev. 23: 97–114, 1986.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rack P.M.H.: Limitations of somatosensory feedback in control of posture and movement. In: Brooks V.B. (Ed.), Handbook of Physiology: The Nervous System II. American Physiological Society, Bethesda, 1981, pp. 229–256.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Stelmach G.E., Worringham C.J.: Sensorimotor deficits related to postural stability: Implications for falling in the elderly. Clin. Geriatr. Med. 1: 679–694,1985.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Posner M.I., Nissen M.J., Klein R.: Visual dominance: An information-processing account of its origins and significance. Psychol. Rev. 83: 157–171,1976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cordo P.J., Nashner L.M.: Properties of postural adjustments associated with rapid arm movements. J. Neurophysiol. 47: 287–302, 1982.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Norman D.A., Bobrow J.: On data-limited and resource-limited processes. Cognitive Psychol. 7: 44–64, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    McLeod P.D.: A dual-task response modality effect: Support for multiprocessor models of attention. Q.J. Exp. Psychol. 29: 651–667,1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wickens C.D.: The effects of divided attention on information processing in tracking. J. Exp. Psychol. (Hum. Percept.) 2: 1–13, 1976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kahneman D.: Attentional Effort. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1973, pp. 1–246.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Turvey M.T.: Preliminaries to a theory of action with reference to vision. In: Shaw R., Bransford J. (Eds.), Perceiving acting and knowing: Toward an ecological psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, 1977, pp. 211–256.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stelmach G.E., Sirica A.: Aging propriocept. Age 9: 99–103, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Horak F.B., Diener H.C., Nashner L.M.: Influence of central set on human postural responses. J. Neurophysiol. 62: 841–853, 1989.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis s.r.l. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. E. Stelmach
    • 1
  • H. N. Zelaznik
    • 2
  • D. Lowe
    • 1
  1. 1.Motor Behavior LaboratoryUniversity of Wisconsin, Department of Physical EducationMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations