Older adults show elevated intermuscular coherence in eyes‐open standing but only young adults increase coherence in response to closing the eyes
Walker, S., Piitulainen, H., Manlangit, T., Avela, J., & Baker, S. N. (2020). Older adults show elevated intermuscular coherence in eyes‐open standing but only young adults increase coherence in response to closing the eyes. Experimental Physiology, 105(6), 1000-1011. https://doi.org/10.1113/EP088468
Published inExperimental Physiology
© The Author(s) 2020
Understanding neural control of standing balance is important to identify age‐related degeneration and design interventions to maintain function. Here, intermuscular coherence between antagonist muscle pairs around the ankle‐joint during standing balance tasks was investigated before and after strength‐training. Ten young (18–31 years; YOUNG) and 9 older adults (66–73 years; OLDER) stood on a force plate for 120 s with eyes open followed by 120 s with eyes closed before and after 14 weeks of strength‐training. Postural sway was quantified from center‐of‐pressure displacement based on 3‐D force moments. Electromyography (EMG) was recorded from the gastrocnemius medialis (GM), soleus (SOL) and tibilais anterior (TA) muscles of the right leg. Coherence between rectified EMG pairs (GM‐TA, SOL‐TA) were calculated for each 120‐s‐epoch separately. Postural sway was lower in YOUNG compared to OLDER in eyes‐open (6.8 ± 1.3 vs 10.3 ± 4.7 mm/s, P = 0.028) and eyes‐closed (10.9 ± 3.1 vs. 24.4 ± 18.3 mm/s, P = 0.032) tasks. For both muscle pairs, OLDER had more prominent common input over 4–14 Hz with eyes open, but when the proprioceptive demand was enhanced in the eyes‐closed task the YOUNG were able to further enhance their common input at 6–36 Hz (P < 0.05). Strength‐training reduced the instability from closing the eyes in OLDER but did not alter coherence. This may highlight a greater functional reserve in YOUNG than OLDER and possible emerging proprioceptive degeneration in OLDER. However, the findings question the functional role of coherence for balance. ...
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Postdoctoral Researcher, AoF
Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by a grant from the Academy of Finland (#287680) to Dr. Simon Walker and grants by the Academy of Finland (#296240, #304294, #307250) and Jane and Aatos Erkko foundation to Harri Piitulainen.
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