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Integration of postural and suprapostural control in situations of balance perturbation in the elderly

Grant number: 11/23380-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): February 28, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Luis Augusto Teixeira
Grantee:Nametala Maia Azzi
Home Institution: Escola de Educação Física e Esporte (EEFE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Postural control in daily living activities is usually accompanied by a concomitant accomplishment of a supra-postural task. Young individuals have a better ability to execute a supra-postural task while keeping the postural balance in comparison with the elderly. The explanations given for differences in performance between ages are based on lower attentional processing capacity available, lower efficiency of sensory integration in a postural, and a high degree of constraint imposed by the supra-postural task in the elderly. However, it is not clear how the integration between a supra-postural task and posture control takes place in the elderly according to the participation of attentional mechanisms, sensory integration, and the constraint imposed by the supra-postural task on postural control. The objective of this project is to investigate anticipatory and reactive postural components involved in the integration of postural and supra-postural tasks in young and elderly individuals derived from the constraint imposed by the supra-postural task to posture control. This study will compare elderly and young individuals in the task of maintaining a stable upright bipedal stance simultaneously with manually holding a metal structure. This structure will allow the release of weight by the experimenter unpredictably. On the metal structure, there will be a device for laser emission to be continuously pointed to a circular target. Participants will be instructed to maintain good performance in both postural and supra-postural tasks during weight release.(AU)

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