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Individual differences in brainstem and basal ganglia structure predict postural control and balance loss in young and older adults

Authors
Boisgontier, Matthieu P.
Chalavi, Sima
van Ruitenbeek, Peter
Leunissen, Inge
Levin, Oron
Nieuwboer, Alice
Swinnen, Stephan P.
Published in Neurobiology of Aging. 2017, vol. 50, p. 47-59
Abstract It remains unclear which specific brain regions are the most critical for human postural control and balance, and whether they mediate the effect of age. Here, associations between postural performance and corticosubcortical brain regions were examined in young and older adults using multiple structural imaging and linear mixed models. Results showed that of the regions involved in posture, the brainstem was the strongest predictor of postural control and balance: lower brainstem volume predicted larger center of pressure deviation and higher odds of balance loss. Analyses of white and gray matter in the brainstem showed that the pedunculopontine nucleus area appeared to be critical for postural control in both young and older adults. In addition, the brainstem mediated the effect of age on postural control, underscoring the brainstem’s fundamental role in aging. Conversely, lower basal ganglia volume predicted better postural performance, suggesting an association between greater neural resources in the basal ganglia and greater movement vigor, resulting in exaggerated postural adjustments. Finally, results showed that practice, shorter height and heavier weight (i.e., higher body mass index), higher total physical activity, and larger ankle active (but not passive) range of motion were predictive of more stable posture, irrespective of age.
Keywords AgingBasal gangliaBrainstemFallsPedunculopontine nucleusPosture
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BOISGONTIER, Matthieu P. et al. Individual differences in brainstem and basal ganglia structure predict postural control and balance loss in young and older adults. In: Neurobiology of Aging, 2017, vol. 50, p. 47-59. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:94449

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Deposited on : 2017-05-23

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