Sensory system function and postural stability in men aged 30-80 years

Sara Illing, Nancy Low Choy, Jennifer C. Nitz, Melissa Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To examine age-related changes in postural stability and sensory system functioning in men aged 30-80 years.

DESIGN: Observational, cross-sectional study.

METHODS: One hundred six healthy men aged 30-80 years participated. Personal characteristics were recorded and outcome measures included: velocity of sway during bilateral stance on a firm and foam surface (eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC)), balancing on one leg (EO and EC), lower limb somatosensation (tactile acuity, vibration threshold and joint position error), high-contrast visual acuity (HCVA) and low-contrast visual acuity (LCVA), edge contrast sensitivity and vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR) control.

RESULTS: Men in their 60s and 70s were found to be less stable than the younger age decades when standing on a firm or foam surface. Reduced stability was evident from the 40s to 50s for one-leg-stance (EC). Lower limb somatosensation and HCVA and LCVA were significantly reduced by the 60s but edge contrast sensitivity reduced by the 50s. Age-related changes in VOR control did not emerge until the 70s in this study cohort.

CONCLUSIONS: The results show reduction in postural stability and sensory system functioning in men by the 60s supporting pre-emptive assessment of workers in industries where falls are frequent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-10
Number of pages9
JournalAging Male
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


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