Faculté des sciences

Balance training reduces brain activity during motor simulation of a challenging balance task in older adults: an fMRI study

Ruffieux, Jan ; Mouthon, Audrey ; Keller, Martin ; Mouthon, Michaël ; Annoni, Jean-Marie ; Taube, Wolfgang

In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2018, vol. 12, p. -

Aging is associated with a shift from an automatic to a more cortical postural control strategy, which goes along with deteriorations in postural stability. Although balance training has been shown to effectively counteract these behavioral deteriorations, little is known about the effect of balance training on brain activity during postural tasks in older adults. We, therefore, assessed... More

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    Summary
    Aging is associated with a shift from an automatic to a more cortical postural control strategy, which goes along with deteriorations in postural stability. Although balance training has been shown to effectively counteract these behavioral deteriorations, little is known about the effect of balance training on brain activity during postural tasks in older adults. We, therefore, assessed postural stability and brain activity using fMRI during motor imagery alone (MI) and in combination with action observation (AO; i.e., AO+MI) of a challenging balance task in older adults before and after 5 weeks of balance training. Results showed a nonsignificant trend toward improvements in postural stability after balance training, accompanied by reductions in brain activity during AO+MI of the balance task in areas relevant for postural control, which have been shown to be over-activated in older adults during (simulation of) motor performance, including motor, premotor, and multisensory vestibular areas. This suggests that balance training may reverse the age-related cortical over-activations and lead to changes in the control of upright posture toward the one observed in young adults.