Sensation & falls


Motor Impairment Blog’s most popular posts

Over the past 4.5 years, researchers from all over the world have written non-technical summaries on their research for the Motor Impairment Blog. Consequently, the Blog contains a rich archive of information on topics such as muscle strength and weakness, falls and balance, sensation, pain, motor control, and research methods. […]


Mental fatigue impairs dual-task gait performance in old adults – A new risk factor for falls in the elderly?

Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state induced by sustained periods of demanding cognitive activity. Mental fatigue can negatively impact many aspects of daily life, such as workplace and physical exercise performance. Mental fatigue can manifest itself subjectively, behaviorally and physiologically. The subjective dimension includes increased feelings of tiredness and lack […]


Getting to grips with body ownership

How we sense where our body is and what body parts belong to us is crucial for successful interaction with our environments (e.g. Proske & Gandevia 2012). It might seem silly to ask whether a body part belongs to you or someone else, however studies of patients and studies that […]


Keep an eye on exercise supervision

As we get older, we lose muscle size and strength and become more vulnerable to injury (de Souto Barreto 2009; Fried et al. 2005). Each year, 1 in 3 individuals over 65 has a fall (Yoshida 2007), which often leads to fractures, hospital admissions and mortality. Strength and balance exercise […]


Skin at the back of the ankle contributes to awareness of ankle position 1

The ability to know how our limbs are positioned in space is called proprioception. This ‘sense’ is possible through information gained from individual sensors in the muscles and in the skin. In fact, skin stretch on the back or dorsal surface of the hand has been shown to create illusory […]


Sensorimotor and cognitive factors associated with walking adaptability: novel perspectives for fall prevention in older people 2

Negotiating unexpected obstacles, such as cracks in pavement, requires successful adaptation of our walking pattern to guarantee stability and to avoid falling. Poor walking performance might contribute to tripping, which is frequently reported as a cause of falls in older people (Lord et al. 1993). We have devised a test […]


How does step training affect stepping performance in untrained directions?

Step training is effective for preventing falls in older people (Okubo et al., 2015). This is likely because the movements performed during training closely mimic those which are necessary to avoid falling in real-world situations. One form of step training involves interactive video game technology. This type of training has […]


Home-based exercise improves balance in people with dementia

Older people with dementia are at increased risk of physical decline and falls, with 60% falling annually. So far, there is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in community-dwelling older people with dementia (Sherrington et al., 2016). Poor balance and depressive symptoms are risk factors for falls in this […]


Calibrating skin maps: How are body metrics represented?

To accurately move there is a need for proprioception, the sense of where our limbs are in space. Although we know much about how proprioceptive signals arise in the periphery, less is known about how these signals are integrated so that they can be understood in the spatial co-ordinates of the […]


How do we maintain reaching accuracy during body movement?

When reaching for an object we must compensate for any body movement that may take the arm off-target.  For example, reaching for a handrail when standing on a bus that suddenly accelerates requires detection and compensation for body movement relative to the handrail.  A key sensory system which can detect body […]