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Functional near-infrared spectroscopy reveals the compensatory potential of pre-frontal cortical activity for standing balance in young and older adults

St George, RJ ORCID: 0000-0001-6206-1069, Hinder, MR ORCID: 0000-0002-5240-4790, Puri, R ORCID: 0000-0002-0231-1369, Walker, E and Callisaya, ML ORCID: 0000-0003-2122-1622 2020 , 'Functional near-infrared spectroscopy reveals the compensatory potential of pre-frontal cortical activity for standing balance in young and older adults' , Neuroscience, vol. 452 , pp. 208-218 , doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.10.027.

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Abstract

Recent evidence suggests increased activity of the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is associated with sensorimotordisturbances of standing balance. Here we manipulate sensorimotor inputs and concurrently load cognitiveresources in order to investigate the functional role of PFC activity during standing balance, and how thischanges with healthy ageing. Healthy younger (n= 24; mean age= 20.8 years) and older (n= 25; meanage = 70.6 years) adults maintained balance while sensorimotor inputs were manipulated by removing vision,reducing the base of support, and reducing proprioceptive feedback. To load cognitive resources, each balancecondition was undertaken alone or simultaneously with a cognitive task (dual-task). Functional near infraredspectroscopy (fNIRS) measured PFC activity and a force-plate measured postural sway. When comparing dualtasksrelative to single balance tasks (dual-task effect), at lower levels of balance task demand, the older adultsexhibited increased PFC activity and similar levels of postural sway. However, at higher levels of balance taskdemand, a limit to PFC activity was observed and postural sway became more unstable in older adults. In contrast,for younger adults at higher levels of balance task demand, the dual-task effect resulted in an increase inPFC activity and postural sway was not unduly affected. These results suggest that PFC activity is compensatingfor sensorimotor deficits to maintain stability, and that a cognitive resource limit is reached for easier balancetasks in older people compared to younger people. These results suggest that increasing cortical capacity inolder people may improve their balance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:St George, RJ and Hinder, MR and Puri, R and Walker, E and Callisaya, ML
Keywords: ageing, balance, cognitive demands, compensation hypothesis, fNIRS, sensorimotor control
Journal or Publication Title: Neuroscience
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0306-4522
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.10.027
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 IBRO

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