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Journal Article


Bhatt T, Wang Y, Wang S, Kannan L. Front. Sports Act. Living 2021; 3: e697169.


(Copyright © 2021, Frontiers Media)






This study examined the effects of perturbation training on the contextual interference and generalization of encountering a novel opposing perturbation. One hundred and sixty-nine community-dwelling healthy older adults (69.6 ± 6.4 years) were randomly assigned to one of the three groups: slip-perturbation training (St, n = 67) group received 24 slips, trip-perturbation training (Tt, n = 67) group received 24 trips, and control (Ctrl: n = 31) group received only non-perturbed walking trials ( NCT03199729; After training, all groups had 30 min of rest and three post-training non-perturbed walking trials, followed by a reslip and a novel trip trial for St, a retrip and a novel slip trial for Tt, and randomized novel slip and trip trials for Ctrl. The margin of stability (MOS), step length, and toe clearance of post-training walking trials were compared among three groups to examine interferences in proactive adjustment. Falls, MOS at the instant of recovery foot touchdown, and hip height of post-training perturbation trials were investigated to detect interferences and generalization in reactive responses.

RESULTS indicated that prior adaptation to slip perturbation training, resulting in walking with a greater MOS (more anterior) and a shorter step length (p < 0.01) than that of the Ctrl group, would be associated with a greater likelihood to forward balance loss if encountered with a trip. The trip adaptation training mainly induced a higher toe clearance during walking (p < 0.01) than the Ctrl group, which could lead to reduced effectiveness of the reactive response when encountered with a novel slip. However, there was no difference in the reactive MOS, limb support, and falls between the control group and the slip and trip training groups on their respective opposing novel perturbation post-training (MOS, limb support, and falls for novel slip: Tt = Ctrl; for the novel trip: St = Ctrl, both p > 0.05). Current findings suggested that, although perturbation training results in proactive adjustments that could worsen the reactive response (interference) when exposed to an unexpected opposing perturbation, older adults demonstrated the ability to immediately generalize the training-induced adaptive reactive control to maintain MOS, to preserve limb support control, and to reduce fall risk.

Language: en


fall; contextual interference; perturbation; SLIP; TRIP


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