The effects of aging on postural control and selective attention when stepping down while performing a concurrent auditory response task

Wai Nam Tsang, Nazca K Y Lam, Kit N L Lau, Harry C H Leung, Crystal M S Tsang, Xi Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the effects of aging on postural control and cognitive performance in single- and dual-tasking. Methods: A cross-sectional comparative design was conducted in a university motion analysis laboratory. Young adults (n = 30; age 21.9 ± 2.4 years) and older adults (n = 30; age 71.9 ± 6.4 years) were recruited. Postural control after stepping down was measured with and without performing a concurrent auditory response task. Measurement included: (1) reaction time and (2) error rate in performing the cognitive task; (3) total sway path and (4) total sway area after stepping down. Results: Our findings showed that the older adults had significantly longer reaction times and higher error rates than the younger subjects in both the single-tasking and dual-tasking conditions. The older adults had significantly longer reaction times and higher error rates when dual-tasking compared with single-tasking, but the younger adults did not. The older adults demonstrated significantly less total sway path, but larger total sway area in single-leg stance after stepping down than the young adults. The older adults showed no significant change in total sway path and area between the dual-tasking and when compared with single-tasking conditions, while the younger adults showed significant decreases in sway. Conclusion: Older adults prioritize postural control by sacrificing cognitive performance when faced with dual-tasking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3021-3026
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume113
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Balance
  • Cognition
  • Posture
  • Stairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this