Efficiency of Sensorimotor Networks: Posture and Gait in Young and Older Adults
Experimental Aging Research. 2019-01-01; 45(1): 41-56
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Di Scala G(1), Dupuy M(1), Guillaud E(1), Doat E(1), Barse E(2), Dillhareguy B(1), Jean FAM(3), Audiffren M(4), Cazalets JR(1), Chanraud S(1)(2).
(1)a Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives et Intégratives d’Aquitaine (INCIA), Université de Bordeaux, CNRS-UMR 5287 , Bordeaux , France.
(2)b École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), PSL Research University , Paris , France.
(3)c Centre Hospitalier Charles Perrens , Bordeaux , France.
(4)d Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition et l’Apprentissage (CeRCA), CNRS-UMR 7295, Université de Poitiers, Université François Rabelais de Tours , Poitiers , France.
Background/Study context: Posture and gait are complex sensorimotor functions
affected by age. These difficulties are particularly apparent when performing
cognitively demanding tasks. Characterizing the functional organization of brain
networks involved in these associations remains a challenge because of the
incompatibility of brain imagery techniques with gross body movements. The
present study aimed at testing whether resting-state functional connectivity of
sensorimotor networks is associated with posture and gait performance recorded
offline, in young and older adults.METHODS: Young (n = 12, mean = 24.1 y/o) and
older (n = 14, mean = 65.6 y/o) healthy adults were tested for stability of their
posture and gait. Four hours later, anatomical and functional brain imaging data
were collected with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Bilateral precentral and
postcentral gyri were used as seeds in a graph theory analysis focused on global
and local efficiency. The possible association between these data and posture and
gait performance was examined.
RESULTS: Both samples presented similar sensorimotor graphs, but with different
global and local efficiencies (small world properties). The association between
the networks’ graph measures and posture and gait performance also differed
across groups: local efficiency was correlated with gait stability in challenging
conditions in older adults, but not in young adults.
CONCLUSION: This exploratory study suggests that combining analyses of functional
networks and offline body movement may provide important information about motor
function. In older adults, the association between graph properties of the
sensorimotor network and gait performance in challenging conditions may be
indicative of compensatory processes. Prospective studies involving more subjects
with a larger age range are warranted.