Neural bases of age-related sensorimotor slowing in the upper and lower limbsUroš Marušič
, Manca Peskar
, Kevin De Pauw
, Nina Omejc
, Gorazd Drevenšek
, Bojan Rojc
, Rado Pišot
, Voyko Kavcic
, 2022, original scientific article
Abstract: With advanced age, there is a loss of reaction speed that may contribute to an increased risk of tripping and falling. Avoiding falls and injuries requires awareness of the threat, followed by selection and execution of the appropriate motor response. Using event-related potentials (ERPs) and a simple visual reaction task (RT), the goal of our study was to distinguish sensory and motor processing in the upper- and lower-limbs while attempting to uncover the main cause of age-related behavioral slowing. Strength (amplitudes) as well as timing and speed (latencies) of various stages of stimulus- and motor-related processing were analyzed in 48 healthy individuals (young adults, n = 24, mean age = 34 years; older adults, n = 24, mean age = 67 years). The behavioral results showed a significant age-related slowing, where the younger compared to older adults exhibited shorter RTs for the upper- (222 vs. 255 ms; p = 0.006, respectively) and the lower limb (257 vs. 274 ms; p = 0.048, respectively) as well as lower variability in both modalities (p = 0.001). Using ERP indices, age-related slowing of visual stimulus processing was characterized by overall larger amplitudes with delayed latencies of endogenous potentials in older compared with younger adults. While no differences were found in the P1 component, the later components of recorded potentials for visual stimuli processing were most affected by age. This was characterized by increased N1 and P2 amplitudes and delayed P2 latencies in both upper and lower extremities. The analysis of motor-related cortical potentials (MR) revealed stronger MRCP amplitude for upper- and a non-significant trend for lower limbs in older adults. The MRCP amplitude was smaller and peaked closer to the actual motor response for the upper- than for the lower limb in both age groups. There were longer MRCP onset latencies for lower- compared to upper-limb in younger adults, and a non-significant trend was seen in older adults. Multiple regression analyses showed that the onset of the MRCP peak consistently predicted reaction time across both age groups and limbs tested. However, MRCP rise time and P2 latency were also significant predictors of simple reaction time, but only in older adults and only for the upper limbs. Our study suggests that motor cortical processes contribute most strongly to the slowing of simple reaction time in advanced age. However, late-stage cortical processing related to sensory stimuli also appears to play a role in upper limb responses in the elderly. This process most likely reflects less efficient recruitment of neuronal resources required for the upper and lower extremity response task in older adults.
Keywords: aging, sensoriomotor integration, event-related potential, finger and foot responses, motor-related cortical potential
Published in DiRROS: 04.05.2022; Views: 423; Downloads: 350
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