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J Vestib Res. 1990-1991;1(1):73-85.

Age-related changes in human posture control: sensory organization tests.

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Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center, R. S. Dow Neurological Sciences Institute, Portland, OR 97210.


Postural control was measured in 214 human subjects ranging in age from 7 to 81 y. Sensory organization tests measured the magnitude of anterior-posterior body sway during six 21 s trials in which visual and somatosensory orientation cues were normal, altered (by rotating the visual surround and support surface in proportion to the subject's sway), or vision eliminated (eyes closed). No age-related increase in postural sway was found for subjects standing on a fixed support surface with eyes open or closed. However, age- related increases in sway were found for conditions involving altered visual or somatosensory cues. Subjects older than about 55 y showed the largest sway increases. Subjects younger than about 15 y were also sensitive to alteration of sensory cues. On average, the older subjects were more affected by altered visual cues, whereas younger subjects had more difficulty with altered somatosensory cues.

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