Older Adults Demonstrate Reduced Performance in a Fitts’ Task Involving Cervical Spine Movement
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A discrete aiming head movement task was developed to replicate Fitts'movement paradigm. Movement time (MT) differences between young (age range 24-29 years, n = 8) and old adults (age range 75-85 years, n = 8) were examined. Cervical spine (CS) range of motion (ROM) was recorded.A head mounted motion capture device was used to evaluate task performance. Three amplitudes and three target widths generated nine indexes of difficulty (IDs). Global ROM was decreased in old adults. The ID and MT relationship was maintained with age; however, old adults were slower, more variable, and more affected by ID. Variations in target size were used as the accuracy variable for both groups. As target size increased, the old population overshot their endpoint. These data support the hypothesis that, besides musculoskeletal slowing with age, there may be age-related deterioration of central processing, planning, or perception mechanisms.
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