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Journal Article

Citation

Brown LA, Doan JB, McKenzie NC, Cooper SA. Gait Posture 2006; 24(4): 418-423.

Affiliation

Balance Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alta., Canada T1K 3M4. l.brown@uleth.ca

Copyright

(Copyright © 2006, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

10.1016/j.gaitpost.2005.09.013

PMID

16420978

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if anxiety-mediated gait adaptations can reduce the risk for falling among younger and older adults. Fourteen younger adults (23.14+/-3.08 years) and 14 older adults (69.28+/-5.41 years) participated in this study. Participants were asked to walk the length of a 7.20m walkway and avoid contact with an obstacle that appeared suddenly underfoot at either 25% or 75% of the gait cycle duration. Testing was conducted in four conditions of postural threat. The obstacle was presented as a light beam and did not jeopardize balance when contacted. Fall risk was inferred from the frequency of obstacle contacts. Our findings indicated that obstacle contact frequency decreased when conservative gait patterns emerged. These findings imply that anxiety-mediated gait adaptations are beneficial in reducing the risk for falling among older adults and present the possibility that fear of falling may offer protective benefits for postural control. One possibility is that the beneficial effects of anxiety can only be realized among older adults who do not fear falling.


Language: en

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