Smooth pursuits decrease balance control during locomotion in young and older healthy females

Thomas, Neil M. and Dewhurst, Susan and Bampouras, Theodoros M. and Donovan, Tim and Macaluso, Andrea and Vannozzi, Giuseppe (2017) Smooth pursuits decrease balance control during locomotion in young and older healthy females. Experimental Brain Research, 235 (9). pp. 2661-2668. ISSN 0014-4819

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Dynamic balance control—characterised as movement of the trunk and lower limbs—was assessed during fixation of a fixed target, smooth pursuits and saccadic eye movements in ten young (22.9 ± 1.5 years) and ten older (72.1 ± 8.2 years) healthy females walking overground. Participants were presented with visual stimuli to initiate eye movements, and posture and gaze were assessed with motion analysis and eye tracking equipment. The results showed an increase in medial/lateral (ML) trunk movement (C7: p = 0.012; sacrum: p = 0.009) and step-width variability (p = 0.052) during smooth pursuits compared to a fixed target, with no changes for saccades compared to a fixed target. The elders demonstrated greater ML trunk movement (sacrum: p = 0.037) and step-width variability (p = 0.037) than the younger adults throughout, although this did not interact with the eye movements. The findings showed that smooth pursuits decreased balance control in young and older adults similarly, which was likely a consequence of more complicated retinal flow. Since healthy elders are typically already at a postural disadvantage, further decreases in balance caused by smooth pursuits are undesirable.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Experimental Brain Research
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Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? elderly gaiteye movementspostural controlsaccadesstep-variabilitywalking postureneuroscience(all) ??
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Deposited On:
09 Oct 2018 12:50
Last Modified:
18 Dec 2023 01:54