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Central organization in the generation of anticipatory and reactive postural adjustments in the elderly

Grant number: 10/00307-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2010
Effective date (End): July 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Physical Education
Principal Investigator:Luis Augusto Teixeira
Grantee:Marina Brito Silva
Home Institution: Escola de Educação Física e Esporte (EEFE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Abstract

Anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) and reactive are the two main mechanisms that central nervous system uses to maintain balance. As these adjustments depend on the integrity of the central nervous system, and of the muscular and sensory systems, and the elderly show deficit in the processing of these systems, the postural responses seem to be slower and less adaptive in the elderly than in young adults. To minimize this disadvantage in the regulation of the upright posture, the elderly could use cues about the characteristics of a postural displacement to assist the maintenance of postural balance. Environmental cues could potentially be used to modulate not only APAs, but also reactive responses, avoiding major displacement in order to maintain a stable upright posture. In this research proposal it will be evaluated the effect of precuing a postural displacement on control of upright posture in the elderly compared to young adults in three experiments. In Experiment 1 I will evaluate the effect of the uncertainty of direction (anterior/posterior) and amplitude (high / low) of mechanical displacement on reactive postural responses, considering that the participants can receive complete cues (direction and amplitude), incomplete (direction or amplitude) or not receive any kind of cues. In Experiment 2 I will compare the reorganization of reactive postural responses between elderly and young adults as a function of invalid cues about the direction of mechanical displacement. In Experiment 3 I will compare the effect of temporal uncertainty of mechanical displacement on anticipatory and reactive postural responses, including conditions in which (a) participants will receive cues about the timing of the displacement of the platform, (b) cues about the direction of displacement (c) cues about time and direction of displacement, and (d) without cue about time or direction of displacement.