Article abstract Using dynamic posturography, we studied the balance of 234 community–dwelling elderly subjects (mean age, 76 ± 5 years) as well as 34 young controls (mean age, 34 ± 12 years). Almost all measures of balance were worse in elderly subjects compared with young controls. The decrements in older persons indicate a diminished capacity to process conflicting sensory input as well as a possible narrowing of the limit of stability (or, alternatively, an increase in sway). We propose that this occurs most likely as a result of biomechanical or central processing changes as opposed to diminished sensory or vestibular input. Furthermore, with difficult tasks sequentially presented, the performance of the older subjects improved, suggesting that balance, at least in the short term, adapts to stressful conditions. In these elderly subjects screened for age–related diseases affecting balance, only small decrements of balance occurred between the ages of 70 and 85 years. This nominal decrease over a 15–year span suggests that clinically significant balance impairment is the result of age–related disease rather than an inevitable consequence of aging and is therefore potentially treatable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology