Age-related Changes in Multi-finger Synergy during Constant Force Production with and without Additional Mechanical Constraint

  • Park, Yang Sun (Department of Physical Education, College of Performing Arts and Sports, Hanyang University) ;
  • Kwon, Hyun Joon (Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland) ;
  • Koh, Kyung (The Movement Science Center of Research Institute for Sports Science and Sports Industry, Hanyang University) ;
  • Shim, Jae Kun (Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland)
  • Received : 2016.05.05
  • Accepted : 2016.06.10
  • Published : 2016.06.30


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate age-related changes of multi-finger synergy during a constant force production task with and without an additional mechanical constraint. Method: Fourteen elderly subjects (age: $78.50{\pm}4.63yrs$, height: $157.29{\pm}8.97cm$, weight: $65.13{\pm}6.93kg$) and 14 young subjects (age: $21.13{\pm}1.35yrs$, height: $171.57{\pm}8.43cm$, weight: $70.29{\pm}16.77kg$) participated in this study. The subjects were asked to place their index and middle fingers on two force transducers fixed on a small non-moving teeterboard and produce 10 N by pressing the sensors while watching force feedback on a computer screen under the no additional constraint condition (NAC). The subjects also performed the same task with an additional mechanical constraint (AC) where the subjects were asked to balance a teeterboard that could be rotated by finger forces. An uncontrolled manifold approach was used to calculate within-trial and between-trial multi-finger synergy indices, variance in uncontrolled subspace ($V_{UCM}$), and variance in subspace orthogonal to UCM subspace ($V_{ORT}$). Two-way repeated measured ANOVA was performed with the within-factor of task condition (with and without an additional constraint) and the between factor of groups (elderly and young). Results: The elderly group showed significantly increased within-trial $V_{ORT}$ in AC compared with NAC (p < .05) while the young group showed no significant difference between AC and NAC. There was no significant group difference for within-trial $V_{UCM}$. Between-trial $V_{ORT}$ remained unchanged between groups and conditions. However, between-trial $V_{UCM}$ for the elderly group significantly decreased in AC as compared to NAC, along with no significant difference for the young group. For multi-finger synergy, there was no significant group difference of within-trial synergy. However, between-trial synergy for the elderly group significantly decreased in AC as compared to NAC (p < .05). Conclusion: Our results indicate that aging decreased consistency (i.e., ability to perform the task on a moment-to-moment basis) with an additional mechanical constraint. In addition, aging was associated with decreased multi-finger synergy on a trial-to-trial basis.



Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea


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