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Kiyoji Tanaka and Morihiko Okada

An overview of the mission, research goals, structure, and organization of a major Japanese university research program is presented. The research program is part of a larger initiative known as the Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA), which is based at the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 60 km northeast of Tokyo. The TARA Research Foundation was established at the University of Tsukuba in May 1994.

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Hee Sik Kim and Kiyoji Tanaka

The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which a battery of 24 activities of daily living (ADL) performance tasks could be used to determine functional age in a sample of older women. The subjects were 253 older adult Korean women, aged 60 to 91 years. All subjects completed a comprehensive battery of 24 performance tests related to common activities of daily living. Correlations between the measures were computed, and principal component analysis was applied to the 24 × 24 correlation matrix. A principal component score was computed for each subject and was found to decrease significantly with advancing age. Multiple regression analysis revealed that out of the initial 24 variables, 5 variables accounted for 81% of the variability. An equation was developed to determine ADL age; the equation was considered useful for the assessment of daily living activities of older adult Korean women.

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Kayoko Isono and Yoko Hayakawa

Edited by Kiyoji Tanaka

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Nobuo Takeshima, William F. Brechue, Setsuko Ueya and Kiyoji Tanaka

This study attempted to determine the accuracy of measuring heart rate by radial artery palpation in elderly individuals. Elderly (ELD; n = 26) and young (Y; n = 21) individuals completed 3 intensity levels of exercise on a treadmill, each carried out on a separate day. Participants determined their heart rate by palpating the radial artery (PR) after exercise. In ELD, there were significant differences between PR and electrocardiogram (ECG; p = .007). Heart-rate errors at each intensity of exercise were 7.2 ± 12.5, 6.6 ± 15.7, and 10.1 ± 16.5 beats/min. There were no differences in PR and ECG in Y. Fingertip sensitivity was significantly lower in ELD than in Y. A significant, negative correlation existed (r = -.56, n = 26) between heart-rate error and fingertip sensitivity in ELD. These data suggest that self-conducted PR by elderly individuals fails to accurately estimate heart rate. This appears to result from lessened vibrotactile sensitivity in the fingers.

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Kiyoji Tanaka, Ryosuke Shigematsu, Masaki Nakagaichi, Hunkyung Kim and Nobuo Takeshima

In Japan, 2 approaches have been adopted to assess health and functional status in older adults. One is a battery of physical-performance tasks. The other is estimation of physical vitality using biomedical risk factors. Previous research has examined strength and direction of the relationship between functional fitness and performance on activities of daily living. Vital-age tests have most often been used to assess risk for developing a variety of age-related diseases. The present study examined interrelationships among functional fitness and vital-age scores in Japanese women (N = 129, mean age = 71.9). The functional fitness test battery consisted of arm curls, walking around 2 cones, moving beans with chopsticks, and functional reach. The vital-age test battery consisted of 6 coronary heart disease risk factors (systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, abdominal girth, and hematocrit) and 5 physical-performance variables (oxygen uptake and heart rate at lactate threshold, side-to-side stepping, 1-leg balance with eyes closed, and forced expiratory volume).

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George J. Holland, Kiyoji Tanaka, Ryosuke Shigematsu and Masaki Nakagaichi

This review examines the influences of physiological aging processes on connective tissue, joint integrity, flexibility (range of motion [ROM]), and physical functions of older adults. Studies that attempted to improve older adults' ROM are also critiqued. Multiple mechanisms of musculoskeletal and soft-tissue degeneration, as well as disease processes (osteoporosis, arthritis, atherosclerosis), contribute to significant decreases in neuromuscular function and ROM in older adults, all of which can be exacerbated by disuse influences. No delineation of disuse effects on the rate of aging-related decrements in ROM can be provided, however, because long-term investigations (with physical activity controls) have not been conducted. Research efforts have documented both upper and lower extremity decrements in ROM with development of physical impairments, reductions in basic and instrumental activities of daily living, and progression of disability. There is limited research evidence that either specialized stretch-training or general-exercise intervention protocols moderately improve ROM in older adults and the frail elderly.

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Masaru Hashimoto, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko and Kiyoji Tanaka

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Nobuo Takeshima, Masatoshi Nakata, Fumio Kobayashi, Kiyoji Tanaka and Michael L. Pollock

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of head-out-of-water immersion (HOI) on elderly subjects’ heart rate (HR) and oxygen uptake (V̇O2) responses to graded walking exercise. Subjects were 15 elderly participants. who selected three walking speeds and exercised for 6 min at each intensity on land and in the water. HOI exercise was carried out with subjects immersed to the level of the axilla. HR response at a given V̇O2 during walking with HOI was similar to the values found for walking on land, in contrast to published data on young subjects. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that water immersion-induced central redistribution of blood volume changes with advancing age and may lead to a difference in the HR–V̇O2 relationship during HOI walking in the elderly compared to the young. This has important implications for prescribing exercise to the elderly when using treadmill HR values for HOI walking training.

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Seiji Maeda, Asako Zempo-Miyaki, Hiroyuki Sasai, Takehiko Tsujimoto, Rina So and Kiyoji Tanaka

Obesity and increased arterial stiffness are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness is increased in obese individuals than in age-matched nonobese individuals. We demonstrated that dietary modification and exercise training are effective in reducing arterial stiffness in obese persons. However, the differences in the effect on arterial stiffness between dietary modification and exercise training are unknown. The purpose of the current study was to compare the effect of dietary modification and aerobic exercise training on arterial stiffness and endothelial function in overweight and obese persons. Forty-five overweight and obese men (48 ± 1 year) completed either a dietary modification (well-balanced nutrient, 1680 kcal/day) or an exercise-training program (walking, 40–60 min/day, 3 days/week) for 12 weeks. Before and after the intervention, all participants underwent anthropometric measurements. Arterial stiffness was measured based on carotid arterial compliance, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), and endothelial function was determined by circulating level of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and nitric oxide metabolite (nitrites/nitrate as metabolite: NOx). Body mass and waist circumference significantly decreased after both intervention programs. Weight loss was greater after dietary modification than after exercise training (-10.1 ± 0.6 kg vs. -3.6 ± 0.5 kg, p < .01). Although arterial stiffness and the plasma levels of ET-1 and NOx were improved after dietary modification or exercise training, there were no differences in those improvements between the 2 types of interventions. Exercise training improves arterial function in obese men without as much weight loss as after dietary modification.

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Ryosuke Shigematsu, Linda M. Ueno, Masaki Nakagaichi, Hosung Nho and Kiyoji Tanaka

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to monitor exercise intensity in older adults. Middle-aged (46.9 ± 7.0 years, n = 24) and older women (75.5 ± 3.8 years, n = 29) performed a graded maximal exercise test on a cycle ergometer while RPE, oxygen uptake, heart rate, and blood lactate levels were measured. The Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient between RPE and oxygen uptake for each stage of the graded exercise test was calculated for each participant. The mean coefficient for the older group (r = .954) was similar to that of middle-aged group (r = .963). The autocorrelation coefficient was much lower (r = .411) in the older group than in the middle-aged group (r = .871). Variability in RPE through the graded exercise test was similar between the two groups. In conclusion, RPE was strongly associated with oxygen uptake in the older group. These results indicate that RPE is effective in monitoring exercise intensity in older adults.