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Murray F. Mitchell

Information about whose knowledge is accepted as important is valuable in understanding how a profession evolves. The term elders describes the individuals who control invisible networks of prestige and who determine what information is accepted for publication in professional journals. These published works stand as the foundation for the knowledge base of a discipline. The purpose of this article was to identify the elders in physical education teacher education (PETE) and to trace their academic genealogy. Elders were defined as major contributors to the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education from 1981 through 1989. The articles published by these subjects were generally, but not exclusively, research-related. Hence, aspects related to faculty research performance were selected as descriptors that may facilitate comparisons of PETE professors to other groups of professors and to future PETE professors. Subjects’ gender, prestige of doctoral program, mentoring, and prestige of current institution of employment were studied as these indicators represent major correlates with research productivity.

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Mary A. Murphy, Sharon L. Olson, Elizabeth J. Protas and Averell R. Overby

Fifty community-dwelling elders were screened and followed for 14 months. Sixteen experienced falls and 34 did not. The screening variables consisted of age, the Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction in Balance, the Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment for Balance, functional reach, the Physical Performance Test, and the following timed tests: floor transfer; 5-step test; 5 chair stands; tandem, semitandem, and side-by-side stance; penny pick-up; 360° turn; 50-ft walk; and 5-min walk. Data analysis and chi-squared or t tests were performed for each variable to determine significant differences between groups. Correlations, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated, and a stepwise discriminant analysis was conducted to determine which significant variables best predicted falls. Discriminant analysis determined that the floor transfer and then the 50-ft walk predicted falls in community-dwelling elders, correctly classifying 95.5% of participants. Prediction for falls was 81.8%, and for no falls, 100%. The timed floor transfer and 50-ft walk were the most discriminating measures to identify potential fallers.

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Joseph F. Signorile, David Sandler, Fangchao Ma, Steve Bamel, Damian Stanziano, Wes Smith, Bernard A. Roos and Lauran Sandals

This study examined the validity, reliability, and discriminatory capacity of the gallon-jug shelf-transfer (GJST) test. Six hundred fifty-three independent-living older adults (463 women age 72.9 ± 7.0 years, 190 men age 74.3 ± 6.7 years) participated. Participants moved five 1-gallon jugs (≈3.9 kg) from a knee-high to a shoulder-high shelf as quickly as possible. The GJST showed an exponential performance decline with age, and there were significant correlations between the GJST and common functional tests (p < .001). High within-day and between-days reliability was detected. The test also detected differences resulting from training status (p < .01) and training protocols (p < .05). The GJST is a valid, reliable, inexpensive, safe, and easily administered clinical test for identifying physically vulnerable elders who could benefit from interventions such as exercise to improve their physical capacities and maintain independence.

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Heather Anne Hayes, Nikelle Hunsaker, Sydney Y. Schaefer, Barry Shultz, Thomas Schenkenberg, Lara A. Boyd, Andrea T. White, Kenneth B. Foreman, Philip Dyer, Rebecca Maletsky and Leland E. Dibble

Deficits in sequence-specific learning (SSL) may be a product of Parkinson’s disease (PD) but this deficit could also be related to dopamine replacement. The purpose of this study was to determine whether dopamine replacement affected acquisition and retention of a standing Continuous Tracking Task in individuals with PD. SSL (difference between random/repeated Root Mean Square Error across trials) was calculated over 2 days of practice and 1 day of retention for 4 groups; 10 healthy young (HY), 10 healthy elders, 10 individuals with PD on, 9 individuals with PD off their usual dosage of dopamine replacement. Improvements in acquisition were observed for all groups; however, only the HY demonstrated retention. Therefore, age appeared to have the largest effect on SSL with no significant effect of medication. Additional research is needed to understand the influence of factors such as practice amount, task difficulty, and dopamine replacement status on SSL deficits during postural tasks.

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Jill N. Schulte and Kevin E. Yarasheski

Advancing age is associated with a reduction in skeletal muscle protein, muscle strength, muscle quality, and chemical modifications that may impair protein function. Sarcopenia has been coupled with physical disability, frailty, and a loss of independent function (5, 19). Using stable isotope tracer methodologies and mass spectrometric detection, we observed: (a) 76–92-year-old physically frail and 62–74-year-old middle-age adults have lower mixed muscle protein synthetic rates than 20–32-year-old men and women; (b) 2 weeks and 3 months of weightlifting exercise increased the synthetic rate of myosin heavy chain (MHC) and mixed muscle proteins to a similar magnitude in frail, middle-age, and young women and men; (c) Serum myostatin-immunoreactive protein levels were elevated in physically frail women and were inversely correlated with lean mass. This suggests that the protein synthetic machinery adapts rapidly to increased contractile activity and that the adaptive response(s) are maintained even in frail elders.

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Mon S. Bryant, Diana H. Rintala, Jyh-Gong Hou and Elizabeth J. Protas

Aim:

To investigate the relationships between falls, fear of falling, and activity limitations in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Design/methods:

Cross-sectional study of individuals with mild to moderate PD (N = 83). Associations among demographic data, fall frequency, disease severity, motor impairment, ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL), Activities Balance Confidence Scale, Iowa Fatigue Scale, Comorbidity Index, and Physical Activity Scale for Elders were studied.

Results:

Frequent fallers had more ADL limitations than nonfallers (p < .001) and rare fallers (p = .004). Frequent fallers reported a lower percentage of ability to perform ADL than nonfallers (p = .003). Frequent fallers and rare fallers were less physically active than nonfallers (p = .015 and p = .040, respectively). Frequent fallers and rare fallers reported a higher level of fear of falling than nonfallers (p = .031 and p = .009, respectively).

Conclusions:

Falls and fear of falling were associated with more ADL limitations and less physical activity after adjusting for physical impairments.

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Marlene A. Dixon, Stacy M. Warner and Jennifer E. Bruening

This qualitative study uses expectancy-value and life course theories (Giele & Elder, 1998) to examine both the proximal and distal impact of early family socialization on enduring female participation in sport. Seventeen National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I female head coaches from the U.S. participated in interviews regarding parental influence on their sport involvement. Participants revealed three general mechanisms of sport socialization: a) role modeling, b) providing experience, and c) interpreting experience. Parental influence impacted their enduring involvement in sport by normalizing the sport experience, particularly in terms of gender, and by allowing them a voice in their own participation decisions. Insights regarding the roles of both parents and the interactive and contextual nature of socialization for increasing female participation are discussed.

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David E. Vance, Virginia G. Wadley, Karlene K. Ball, Daniel L. Roenker and Matthew Rizzo

Physical activity has been shown to be positively associated with cognitive health, but the mechanisms underlying the benefits of physical activity on cognitive health are unclear. The present study simultaneously examined two hypotheses using structural equation modeling (SEM). The depression-reduction hypothesis states that depression suppresses cognitive ability and that physical activity alleviates dysphoric mood and thereby improves cognitive ability. The social-stimulation hypothesis posits that social contact, which is often facilitated by socially laden physical activities, improves cognitive functioning by stimulating the nervous system. Sedentary behavior in the absence of physical activity is expected to exert an inverse relationship on cognitive health through each of these hypotheses. Community-dwelling elders (N = 158) were administered a variety of measures of cognition, depression, social support, and physical activity. SEM techniques provided partial support for the social-stimulation hypothesis and depression-reduction hypothesis. Implications for treating depression and improving cognitive functioning are discussed.

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Guy C. Simoneau and David E. Krebs

The importance of momentum in compensating for elderly individuals’ strength deficits to achieve activities of daily living, such as rising from a chair has been demonstrated in earlier studies. Here we present a case-control study of three healthy “non-fallers” and two “frequent fallers.” All 5 elders were community-living and were tested in the gait laboratory. A four-camera Selspot system was used to obtain whole-body momentum from an 11-segment kinematic model. Ground reaction forces and kinematics were used to calculate lower extremity joint moments. With the exception of the whole-body’s angular momentum about the vertical axis, linear and angular momenta during gait were minimum during mid-single limb support and maximum near heel contact. Whole-body momentum values for individuals with a history of falls were similar to those measured in non-fallers. However, subjects with a history of falls had between 17 and 37% smaller maximum ankle and knee torque values than the subjects without a history of falls during ambulation, A comprehensive description of whole-body linear and angular momenta during steady-state gait in older individuals is presented. While whole-body momentum characteristics and magnitude were similar between fallers and non-fallers. the consequences of the lesser torque values in the fallers’ knees and ankles to generate and control this momentum warrant further investigation.

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George J. Salem, Sean P. Flanagan, Man-Ying Wang, Joo-Eun Song, Stanley P. Azen and Gail A. Greendale

Stepping activities when wearing a weighted vest may enhance physical function in older persons. Using 3 weighted-vest resistance dosages, this study characterized the lower-extremity joint biomechanics associated with stepping activities in elders. Twenty healthy community-dwelling older adults, ages 74.5 ± 4.5 yrs, performed 3 trials of forward step-up and lateral step-up exercises while wearing a weighted vest which added 0% body weight (BW), 5% BW, or 10% BW. They performed these activities on a force platform while instrumented for biomechanical analysis. Repeated-measures ANOVA was used to evaluate the differences in ankle, knee, and hip maximum joint angles, peak net joint moments, joint powers, and impulses among both steping activities and the 3 loading conditions. Findings indicated that the 5% BW vest increased the kinetic output associated with the exercise activities at all three lower-extremity joints. These increases ranged from 5.9% for peak hip power to 12.5% for knee extensor impulse. The application of an additional 5% BW resistance did not affect peak joint moments or powers, but it did increase the joint impulses by 4–11%. Comparisons between exercise activities, across the 3 loading conditions, indicated that forward stepping preferentially targeted the hip extensors while lateral stepping targeted the plantar flexors; both activities equally targeted the knee extensors. Weighted-vest loads of 5% and 10% BW substantially increased the mechanical demand on the knee extensors, hip extensors (forward stepping), and ankle plantar flexors (lateral stepping).