Visually fixating or tracking another person decreases balance control in young and older females walking in a real-world scenario

Thomas, Neil M., Donovan, Tim, Dewhurst, Susan and Bampouras, Theodoros (2018) Visually fixating or tracking another person decreases balance control in young and older females walking in a real-world scenario. Neuroscience Letters, 677 . pp. 78-83.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2018.04.038

Abstract

Balance control during overground walking was assessed in 10 young (23.6 ± 3.4) and 10 older (71.0 ± 5.5 years) healthy females during free gaze, and when fixating or tracking another person in an everyday use waiting room. Balance control was characterised by medial/lateral sacrum acceleration dispersion, and gaze fixations were simultaneously assessed with eye tracking equipment. The results showed decreased balance control when fixating a stationary (p=0.003, gav=0.19) and tracking a walking (p=0.027, gav=0.16) person compared to free gaze. The older adults exhibited reduced baseline stability throughout, but the decrease caused by the visual tasks were not more profound than the younger adults. The decreased balance control when fixating on or tracking the observed person was likely due to more challenging conditions for interpreting retinal flow, which facilitated less reliable estimates of self-motion through vision. The older adults may also have adopted a more rigid posture to facilitate visual stability, which attenuated any ageing effect of the visual tasks. The decrease in balance control, the first to be shown in this context, may warrant further investigation in those with ocular or vestibular dysfunction.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Neuroscience Letters
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1872-7972
Departments: Health and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Theodoros Bampouras
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2018 14:27
Last Modified: 06 May 2019 04:16
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3766

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