Both hands at work: the effect of aging on upper-limb kinematics in a multi-step activity of daily living

Philipp Gulde, Joachim Hermsdörfer

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18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The kinematic performance of basic motor tasks shows a clear decrease with advancing age. This study examined if the rules known from such tasks can be generalized to activities of daily living. We examined the end-effector kinematics of 13 young and 13 elderly participants in the multi-step activity of daily living of tea-making. Furthermore, we analyzed bimanual behavior and hand dominance in the task using different conditions of execution. The elderly sample took substantially longer to complete the activity (almost 50%) with longer trajectories compared with the young sample. Models of multiple linear regression revealed that the longer trajectories prolonged the trial duration in both groups, and while movement speed influenced the trial duration of young participants, phases of inactivity negatively affected how long the activity took the elderly subjects. No differences were found regarding bimanual performance or hand dominance. We assume that in self-paced activities of daily living, the age-dependent differences in the kinematics are more likely to be based on the higher cognitive demands of the task rather than on pure motor capability. Furthermore, it seems that not all of the rules known from basic motor tasks can be generalized to activities of daily living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1348
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume235
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Keywords

  • Activity of daily living
  • Aging
  • Bimanual
  • Hand dominance
  • Kinematics

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