Assessment of motor function of the hand in aged rhesus monkeys

Somatosens Mot Res. 2010;27(3):121-30. doi: 10.3109/08990220.2010.485963.


In the elderly, intact motor functions of the upper extremity are critical for the completion of activities of daily living. Many studies have provided insight into age-related changes in motor function. However, the precise nature and extent of motor impairments of the upper extremity remains unclear. In the current study we have modified two tasks to assess hand/digit function in both young and aged rhesus monkeys. We tested monkeys from 9 to 26 years of age on these tasks to determine the level of fine motor performance across the adult age range. Compared to young monkeys (9-12 years of age), aged monkeys (15-26 years of age) were mildly impaired on fine motor control of the digits. These findings are consistent with previous studies that have found age-related impairment in fine motor function. However, the magnitude and extent of impairment in the current study does differ from previous findings and is likely due to methodological differences in the degree of task complexity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology