Age-related differences in EEG beta activity during an assessment of ankle proprioception
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The aim of this work was to compare cortical beta oscillatory activity between young (YA) and older (OA) adults during the assessment of ankle proprioception. We analyzed the response time (RT) to kinesthetic perception and beta event-related desynchronization/synchronization (ERD/ERS) in response to passive ankle movement applied at a slow speed, 0.5 degrees/s. The relationship between ERD/ERS and RT was investigated by classifying the signals into fast-, medium-, and slow-RT. The results showed a temporal relationship between beta oscillation changes and RT for both groups, i.e., earlier ERD and ERS were obtained for trials with faster response time. ERD was larger and delayed in OA compared to the YA, and beta ERS was present only for OA. These findings suggest that a less efficient proprioceptive signaling reaching the brain of OA requires a higher level of brain processing and hence the differences in ERD potentials between YA and OA. Furthermore, the occurrence of ERS in OA might represent a compensatory strategy of active cortical resetting for adequate sensorimotor behavior due to the age-related reduced peripheral input and neuromuscular impairments. Altered balance between excitatory and inhibitory intracortical activity in older adults presumably explains the changes in beta oscillations. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.