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Melzer, I., Krasovsky, T., Oddsson, L. I. E., & Liebermann, D. G. (2010). Age-related differences in lower-limb force-time relation during the push-off in rapid voluntary stepping. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon), 25(10), 989–994.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This study investigated the force-time relationship during the push-off stage of a rapid voluntary step in young and older healthy adults, to study the assumption that when balance is lost a quick step may preserve stability. The ability to achieve peak propulsive force within a short time is critical for the performance of such a quick powerful step. We hypothesized that older adults would achieve peak force and power in significantly longer times compared to young people, particularly during the push-off preparatory phase. METHODS: Fifteen young and 15 older volunteers performed rapid forward steps while standing on a force platform. Absolute anteroposterior and body weight normalized vertical forces during the push-off in the preparation and swing phases were used to determine time to peak and peak force, and step power. Two-way analyses of variance ('Group' [young-older] by 'Phase' [preparation-swing]) were used to assess our hypothesis (P </= 0.05). FINDINGS: Older people exerted lower peak forces (anteroposterior and vertical) than young adults, but not necessarily lower peak power. More significantly, they showed a longer time to peak force, particularly in the vertical direction during the preparation phase. INTERPRETATIONS: Older adults generate propulsive forces slowly and reach lower magnitudes, mainly during step preparation. The time to achieve a peak force and power, rather than its actual magnitude, may account for failures in quickly performing a preventive action. Such delay may be associated with the inability to react and recruit muscles quickly. Thus, training elderly to step fast in response to relevant cues may be beneficial in the prevention of falls.
Keywords: Accidental Falls/prevention & control; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging/physiology; *Biomechanics; Female; Gait/*physiology; Humans; Male; *Postural Balance; Walking/*physiology
Falk, B., Eliakim, A., Dotan, R., Liebermann, D. G., Regev, R., & Bar-Or, O. (1997). Birth weight and physical ability in 5- to 8-yr-old healthy children born prematurely. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 29(9), 1124–1130.
Abstract: Recent advances in perinatal care have resulted in increased survival rates of extremely small and immature newborns. This has resulted in some neurodevelopmental impairment. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively evaluate and compare neuromuscular performance in children born prematurely at various levels of subnormal birth weight (BW). Subjects were 5- to 8-yr-old children born prematurely at different levels of subnormal BW (535-1760 g, N = 22, PM), and age-matched controls born at full term (> 2500 g, N = 15, CON). None of the subjects had any clinically defined neuromuscular disabilities. Body mass (BM) of PM was lower than that of CON (18.3 +/- 2.7 vs 21.7 +/- 3.8 kg) with no difference in height or sum of 4 skinfolds. Peak mechanical power output determined with a 15-s modified Wingate Anaerobic Test and corrected for BM was lower (P = 0.07) in PM than in CON (5.11 +/- 1.07 vs 5.94 +/- 1.00 W.kg-1). This was especially noticeable in children born at extremely low BW (ELBW, < 1000 g, 4.49 +/- 1.04 W.kg-1, P < 0.01). Peak power, determined in a force-plate vertical jump, corrected for BM was lower in PM vs CON (25.5 +/- 5.4 vs 30.8 +/- 5.2 W.kg-1, respectively P = 0.01), especially in the ELBW group (20.0 +/- 5.5 W.kg-1). Similarly, the elapsed time between peak velocity and actual jump take-off was longer in PM than in CON (41.2 +/- 9.4 vs 35.8 +/- 5.8 ms, respectively, P = 0.04). No differences were observed in peak force. The results suggest that performance deficiencies of prematurely-born children may be a result of inferior inter-muscular coordination. The precise neuromotor factors responsible for this should be identified by future research.
Keywords: *Birth Weight; Child; Child Development/physiology; Child, Preschool; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Infant, Newborn; *Infant, Premature; Male; *Motor Skills; *Physical Fitness