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Gait Posture. 2009 Nov;30(4):518-22. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.07.127. Epub 2009 Sep 1.

Model-based assessments of the effects of age and ankle fatigue on the control of upright posture in humans.

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School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


The aim of this study was to investigate how and why age and localized muscle fatigue affect postural control using model-based simulations. A balance control model, based on an optimal control strategy, was used to simulate trials of quiet upright stance both pre-fatigue and following induced ankle plantarflexor fatigue. Empirical data were obtained from an earlier study that included both younger and older participants. Effects of age and ankle fatigue were determined from center-of-pressure (COP) measures and fitted model parameters. Though some discrepancies existed, the simulated effects of age and ankle fatigue were consistent with experimental findings in terms of trends in COP-based measures with age and ankle fatigue. Changes in both COP-based measures and model parameters were used to infer potential underlying causal mechanisms for the observed effects of age and ankle fatigue. For example, the model-based simulations indicated that sensory delay time increased with age and ankle fatigue by 31.1% and 2.9%, respectively, suggesting a potentially important role for such delay in postural control and fall risks.

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