Maintenance of healthy bone mineral density (BMD) is important for preventing fractures in older adults. Strains experienced by bone in vivo stimulate remodeling processes, which can increase or decrease BMD. However, there has been little study of age differences in bone strains. This study examined the relative contributions of age-related differences in femoral loading and BMD to age-related differences in femoral strains during walking using gait analysis, static optimization, and finite element modeling. Strains in older adult models were similar or larger than in young adult models. Reduced BMD increased strains in a fairly uniform manner, whereas older adult loading increased strains in early stance but decreased strains in late stance. Peak ground reaction forces, hip joint contact forces, and hip flexor forces were lower in older adults in late stance phase, and this helped older adults maintain strains similar to those of young adults despite lower BMD. Because walking likely represents a “baseline” level of stimulus for bone remodeling processes, increased strains during walking in older adults might indicate the extent of age-related impairment in bone remodeling processes. Such a measure might be clinically useful if it could be accurately determined with age-appropriate patient-specific loading, geometry, and BMD.
Dennis E. Anderson and Michael L. Madigan
Dennis E. Anderson, Christopher T. Franck, and Michael L. Madigan
The effects of gait speed and step length on the required coefficient of friction (COF) confound the investigation of age-related differences in required COF. The goals of this study were to investigate whether age differences in required COF during self-selected gait persist when experimentally-controlling speed and step length, and to determine the independent effects of speed and step length on required COF. Ten young and 10 older healthy adults performed gait trials under five gait conditions: self-selected, slow and fast speeds without controlling step length, and slow and fast speeds while controlling step length. During self-selected gait, older adults walked with shorter step lengths and exhibited a lower required COF. Older adults also exhibited a lower required COF when walking at a controlled speed without controlling step length. When both age groups walked with the same speed and step length, no age difference in required COF was found. Thus, speed and step length can have a large influence on studies investigating age-related differences in required COF. It was also found that speed and step length have independent and opposite effects on required COF, with step length having a strong positive effect on required COF, and speed having a weaker negative effect.
Robert G. Lefavi, Richard A. Anderson, Robert E. Keith, G. Dennis Wilson, James L. McMillan, and Michael H. Stone
As the biologically active component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), the essential trace mineral chromium is now being marketed to athletes. GTF potentiates insulin activity and is responsible for normal insulin function. Thus, insulin's effects on carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism are dependent upon the maintenance of adequate chromium stores. Due to excessive chromium loss and marginal chromium intake, athletes may have an increased requirement for chromium. Therefore, in some circumstances the dietary supplementation of a chromium compound may be efficacious. The restoration and maintenance of chromium stores via supplementation would promote optimal insulin efficiency, necessary for high-level athletic performance. However, potential anabolic effects of enhanced insulin function would likely be marginal, and reports of short-term anabolic increases from the supplementation of an organic chromium compound need to be confirmed.