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

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

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DOI: 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 either processed retinal flow during the tasks as effectively as the young adults, or they adopted a more rigid posture to facilitate visual stability, which masked 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
ISSN:0304-3940
Uncontrolled Keywords:elderly gait; eye movements; postural control; smooth pursuits; trunk accelerations; walking balance
Group:Faculty of Management
ID Code:30714
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:15 May 2018 10:17
Last Modified:15 May 2018 10:17

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