Falls in the older population continue to be a major medical and public health concern in the US. Emerging evidence is suggesting that higher cognitive processes impact gait and balance in older adults. The goal of this research is to enhance understanding of how executive control of perception and action is associated with balance and locomotion in older adults. Specifically, attentional control of perceptual interference and inhibition of competing actions during standing and walking will be investigated. Our first main hypothesis is that inhibition/facilitation processes influence postural control in older adults through the modulation and integration of sensory information. We will conduct dual-task experiments during standing and walking that include information processing (IP) tasks with specific sensory requirements. These experiments will explore the mutual influence (inhibitory and facilitory) of sensory information used in IP tasks and postural control. Our second main hypothesis is that inhibitory function in older adults, measured through a newly developed neuropsychological test, will be associated with the ability to perform sensory integration under sensory conflict conditions during standing and walking. We will examine these relationships in older adults with varying levels of mobility and balance to gain a better understanding of the influence of the aging process on this relationship.

Public Health Relevance

Falls in older adults continue to be a major medical and public health concern in the US, with more than 1/3 of older adults (>65 years) falling each year, resulting in the leading cause of injury death, fractures, and traumatic brain injury. Emerging evidence is suggesting that higher cognitive processes impact gait and balance and linked to falls. This study focuses on a specific aspect of cognition that may play an important role;specifically perceptual inhibition and the sensory integration process for postural control i older adults. If successful, this study will lead to an understanding of a critical process in balance and mobility of older adults, and potentially provide a clinically useful assessment of an important process supporting postural health.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
2R01AG014116-10A1
Application #
8292473
Study Section
Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences Study Section (MRS)
Program Officer
Chen, Wen G
Project Start
1997-01-01
Project End
2016-03-31
Budget Start
2012-04-01
Budget End
2013-03-31
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$310,575
Indirect Cost
$105,575
Name
University of Pittsburgh
Department
Otolaryngology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
004514360
City
Pittsburgh
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
15213
Jennings, J Richard; Mendelson, David N; Redfern, Mark S et al. (2011) Detecting age differences in resistance to perceptual and motor interference. Exp Aging Res 37:179-97
Mendelson, David N; Redfern, Mark S; Nebes, Robert D et al. (2010) Inhibitory processes relate differently to balance/reaction time dual tasks in young and older adults. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn 17:1-18
Redfern, Mark S; Jennings, J Richard; Mendelson, David et al. (2009) Perceptual inhibition is associated with sensory integration in standing postural control among older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 64:569-76
Ward, Bryan K; Redfern, Mark S; Jennings, J Richard et al. (2008) The influence of cognitive tasks on vestibular-induced eye movements in young and older adults. J Vestib Res 18:187-95
Muller, Martijn L T M; Redfern, Mark S; Jennings, J Richard (2007) Postural prioritization defines the interaction between a reaction time task and postural perturbations. Exp Brain Res 183:447-56
Landgraff, Nancy C; Whitney, Susan L; Rubinstein, Elaine N et al. (2006) Use of the physical performance test to assess preclinical disability in subjects with asymptomatic carotid artery disease. Phys Ther 86:541-8
Whitney, Susan L; Sparto, Patrick J; Hodges, Larry F et al. (2006) Responses to a virtual reality grocery store in persons with and without vestibular dysfunction. Cyberpsychol Behav 9:152-6
Musolino, Mark C; Loughlin, Patrick J; Sparto, Patrick J et al. (2006) Spectrally similar periodic and non-periodic optic flows evoke different postural sway responses. Gait Posture 23:180-8
Whitney, Susan L; Wrisley, Diane M; Marchetti, Gregory F et al. (2005) Clinical measurement of sit-to-stand performance in people with balance disorders: validity of data for the Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand Test. Phys Ther 85:1034-45
Muller, Martijn L T M; Jennings, J Richard; Redfern, Mark S et al. (2004) Effect of preparation on dual-task performance in postural control. J Mot Behav 36:137-46

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