Change of body movement coordination during cervical proprioceptive disturbances with increased age

Gerontology. 2010;56(3):284-90. doi: 10.1159/000265750. Epub 2009 Dec 10.


Background: To date, there are very few studies on postural stability in older adults using body movement recordings to capture the postural movement pattern. Moreover, the importance of proprioception at key areas such as the calf or neck on the postural movement pattern in older adults has rarely been investigated.

Objective: To investigate whether the body movement coordination strategy to calf or neck vibration was affected by aging.

Methods: Body movement measurements were taken at five locations (ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and head) from 18 younger (mean age 29.1 years) and 16 older (mean age 71.5 years) adult subjects using a 3D movement measuring system while subjected to 50 s of pseudo-random calf or neck vibratory stimulation pulses with eyes open or closed. The positions from the knee, hip, shoulder and head markers were correlated against one another to give an indication of the body coordination.

Results: During quiet standing, older adults had greater correlation between the head and trunk than the young. There was an age effect in the body movement coordination strategy. Older adults had a different movement pattern with neck vibration involving mainly more independent knee movements, indicating balance difficulty.

Conclusions: Neck vibration affects the movement pattern in older adults more compared with younger adults and calf vibration, suggesting that, the regulation of body orientation in older adults is more difficult, especially during cervical proprioceptive disturbances.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesis / physiology*
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neck
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Young Adult