Modulation of Force below 1 Hz: Age-Associated Differences and the Effect of Magnified Visual Feedback

Fox, Emily J.; Baweja, Harsimran S.; Kim, Changki; Kennedy, Deanna M.; Vaillancourt, David E.; Christou, Evangelos A.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Oscillations in force output change in specific frequency bins and have important implications for understanding aging and pathological motor control. Although previous studies have demonstrated that oscillations from 0–1 Hz can be influenced by aging and visuomotor processing, these studies have averaged power within this bandwidth and not examined power in specific frequencies below 1 Hz. The purpose was to determine whether a differential modulation of force below 1 Hz contributes to changes in force control related to manipulation of visual feedback and aging. Ten young adults (25±4 yrs, 5 men) and ten older adults (71±5 yrs, 4 men) were instructed to accurately match a target force at 2% of their maximal isometric force for 35 s with abduction of the index finger. Visual feedback was manipulated by changing the visual angle (0.05°, 0.5°, 1.5°) or removing it after 15 s. Modulation of force below 1 Hz was quantified by examining the absolute and normalized power in seven frequency bins. Removal of visual feedback increased normalized power from 0–0.33 Hz and decreased normalized power from 0.66–1.0 Hz. In contrast, magnification of visual feedback (visual angles of 0.5° and 1.5°) decreased normalized power from 0–0.16 Hz and increased normalized power from 0.66–1.0 Hz. Older adults demonstrated a greater increase in the variability of force with magnification of visual feedback compared with young adults (P = 0.05). Furthermore, older adults exhibited differential force modulation of frequencies below 1 Hz compared with young adults (P<0.05). Specifically, older adults exhibited greater normalized power from 0–0.16 Hz and lesser normalized power from 0.66–0.83 Hz. The changes in force modulation predicted the changes in the variability of force with magnification of visual feedback (R2 = 0.80). Our findings indicate that force oscillations below 1 Hz are associated with force control and are modified by aging and visual feedback.


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