Postural adjustments in anticipation of predictable perturbations allow elderly fallers to achieve a balance recovery performance equivalent to elderly non-fallers

by Charlotte Le Mouel, Romain Tisserand, Thomas Robert, Romain Brette
Abstract:
Background In numerous laboratory-based perturbation experiments, differences in the balance recovery performance of elderly fallers and non-fallers are moderate or absent. This performance may be affected by the subjects adjusting their initial posture in anticipation of the perturbation. Research questions: Do elderly fallers and non-fallers adjust their posture in anticipation of externally-imposed perturbations in a laboratory setting? How does this impact their balance recovery performance? Methods 21 elderly non-fallers, 18 age-matched elderly fallers and 11 young adults performed both a forward waist-pull perturbation task and a Choice Stepping Reaction Time (CSRT) task. Whole-body kinematics and ground reaction forces were recorded. For each group, we evaluated the balance recovery performance in the perturbation task, change in initial center of mass (CoM) position between the CSRT and the perturbation task, and the influence of initial CoM position on task performance. Results The balance recovery performance of elderly fallers was equivalent to elderly non-fallers (p textgreater 0.5 Kolmogorov-Smirnov test). All subject groups anticipated forward perturbations by shifting their CoM backward compared to the CSRT task (young: 2.1% of lower limb length, elderly non-fallers: 2.7%, elderly fallers: 2.2%, Hodges-Lehmann estimator, p textless 0.001 Mann-Whitney U). This backward shift increases the probability of resisting the traction without taking a step. Significance The ability to anticipate perturbations is preserved in elderly fallers and may explain their preserved balance recovery performance in laboratory-based perturbation tasks. Therefore, future fall risk prediction studies should carefully control for this postural strategy, by interleaving perturbations of different directions for example.
Reference:
Charlotte Le Mouel, Romain Tisserand, Thomas Robert, Romain Brette, 2019. Postural adjustments in anticipation of predictable perturbations allow elderly fallers to achieve a balance recovery performance equivalent to elderly non-fallers, Gait & Posture, volume 71.
Bibtex Entry:
@article{LeMouel2019,
	title = {Postural adjustments in anticipation of predictable perturbations allow elderly fallers to achieve a balance recovery performance equivalent to elderly non-fallers},
	volume = {71},
	issn = {0966-6362},
	url = {https://www-sciencedirect-com.proxy.insermbiblio.inist.fr/science/article/pii/S0966636219300657/pdfft?md5=b637df74ae2b87bbb41be0e6d4e91afb&pid=1-s2.0-S0966636219300657-main.pdf},
	doi = {10.1016/j.gaitpost.2019.04.025},
	abstract = {Background
In numerous laboratory-based perturbation experiments, differences in the balance recovery performance of elderly fallers and non-fallers are moderate or absent. This performance may be affected by the subjects adjusting their initial posture in anticipation of the perturbation. Research questions: Do elderly fallers and non-fallers adjust their posture in anticipation of externally-imposed perturbations in a laboratory setting? How does this impact their balance recovery performance?
Methods
21 elderly non-fallers, 18 age-matched elderly fallers and 11 young adults performed both a forward waist-pull perturbation task and a Choice Stepping Reaction Time (CSRT) task. Whole-body kinematics and ground reaction forces were recorded. For each group, we evaluated the balance recovery performance in the perturbation task, change in initial center of mass (CoM) position between the CSRT and the perturbation task, and the influence of initial CoM position on task performance.
Results
The balance recovery performance of elderly fallers was equivalent to elderly non-fallers (p {textgreater} 0.5 Kolmogorov-Smirnov test). All subject groups anticipated forward perturbations by shifting their CoM backward compared to the CSRT task (young: 2.1% of lower limb length, elderly non-fallers: 2.7%, elderly fallers: 2.2%, Hodges-Lehmann estimator, p {textless} 0.001 Mann-Whitney U). This backward shift increases the probability of resisting the traction without taking a step.
Significance
The ability to anticipate perturbations is preserved in elderly fallers and may explain their preserved balance recovery performance in laboratory-based perturbation tasks. Therefore, future fall risk prediction studies should carefully control for this postural strategy, by interleaving perturbations of different directions for example.},
	journal = {Gait & Posture},
	author = {Le Mouel, Charlotte and Tisserand, Romain and Robert, Thomas and Brette, Romain},
	month = jun,
	year = {2019},
	pages = {131--137}
}