The goal of this study was to determine if exposure to sensorimotor adaptation training improved head stabilization in older adults. Sixteen participants, age 66–81 yr, were assigned at random to the control group (n = 8) or the experimental group (n = 8). Both groups first completed 6 trials of walking a foam pathway consisting of a moveable platform that induced a lateral perturbation during walking. Head-in-space and trunk-in-space angular velocities were collected. Participants from both groups then trained twice per week for 4 wk. Both groups walked on a treadmill for 20 min. The control group viewed a static scene. The experimental group viewed a rotating visual scene that provided a perceptual-motor mismatch. After training, both groups were retested on the perturbation pathway test. The experimental group used a movement strategy that preserved head stabilization compared with the controls (p < .05). This training effect was not retained after 4 wk.
Buccello-Stout is with the Neuroscience Laboratories, Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering, Houston, TX. Cromwell is with the Div. for Flight Analogs, Universities Space Research Assoc., Houston, TX. Bloomberg is with the Neuroscience Laboratories, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. Whorton is with the Inst. of Human Infections and Immunity, Galveston National Laboratory, Galveston, TX.