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Neurosci Lett. 2007 Dec 18;429(2-3):147-51. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

A model-based approach to attention and sensory integration in postural control of older adults.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


We conducted a dual-task experiment that involved information processing (IP) tasks concurrent with postural perturbations to explore the interaction between attention and sensory integration in postural control in young and older adults. A postural control model incorporating sensory integration and the influence of attention was fit to the data, from which parameters were then obtained to quantify the interference of attention on postural control. The model hypothesizes that the cognitive processing and integration of sensory inputs for balance requires time, and that attention influences this processing time, as well as sensory selection by facilitating specific sensory channels. Performing a concurrent IP task had an overall effect on the time delay. Differences in the time delay of the postural control model were found for the older adults. The results suggest enhanced vulnerability of balance processes in older adults to interference from concurrent cognitive IP tasks.

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