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Takashi Kinugasa, Hiroshi Nagasaki, Taketo Furuna and Hajime Itoh

The goal of this study was to identify methods for characterizing high-functioning older adults living in the community. The subjects were 495 older adults from the Longitudinal Interdisciplinary Study on Aging conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. Physical performance measures included grip strength, walking at preferred and maximum speeds, one-leg standing with eyes open, and finger tapping rate. Performance scores were created by summing each categorical score. Consistent differences were found among age groups and genders. Scores were lower in subjects who had stroke or diabetes than in those without these conditions. These results suggest that physical performance measures have both discriminant validity and construct validity, which make them useful methods for characterizing high-functioning older persons.

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Yuko Oguma, Yusuke Osawa, Michiyo Takayama, Yukiko Abe, Shigeho Tanaka, I-Min Lee and Yasumichi Arai

Background:

To date, there is no physical activity (PA) questionnaire with convergent and construct validity for the oldest-old. The aim of the current study was to investigate the validity of questionnaire-assessed PA in comparison with objective measures determined by uniaxial and triaxial accelerometers and physical performance measures in the oldest-old.

Methods:

Participants were 155 elderly (mean age 90 years) who were examined at the university and agreed to wear an accelerometer for 7 days in the 3-year-follow-up survey of the Tokyo Oldest-Old Survey of Total Health. Fifty-nine participants wore a uniaxial and triaxial accelerometer simultaneously. Self-rated walking, exercise, and household PA were measured using a modified Zutphen PA Questionnaire (PAQ). Several physical performance tests were done, and the associations among PAQ, accelerometer-assessed PA, and physical performances were compared by Spearman’s correlation coefficients.

Results:

Significant, low to moderate correlations between PA measures were seen on questionnaire and accelerometer assessments (ρ = 0.19 to 0.34). Questionnaireassessed PA measure were correlated with a range of lower extremity performance (ρ = 0.21 to 0.29).

Conclusions:

This PAQ demonstrated convergent and construct validity. Our findings suggest that the PAQ can reasonably be used in this oldest-old population to rank their PA level.

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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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Annette J. Raynor, Fiona Iredale, Robert Crowther, Jane White and Julie Dare

explored the effect of the program on a range of physical performance measures, and the benefits and challenges associated with the introduction of such a program as perceived by residents, family, and staff. Methods Ethics approval for this study was granted by the Edith Cowan University Human Research

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Christopher Rosimus

. All physical performance measures improved from baseline. Reactive strength index improved by 5%, isometric pull strength improved by 4%, and power increased by 1%. Linear speed, on-court speed, and repeated speed all improved by 1%, 6%, and 6%, respectively. Increases in blood serum from baseline

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Ellen F. Binder

This pilot study evaluated (a) the feasibility of a group exercise program in an institutionalized population with dementia; (b) the effects of such a program on physical performance measures; and (c) the potential additional effects of vitamin D supplementation on gait and muscle strength. Nursing home residents (N = 25) with chronic dementia and mobility impairments attended a thrice weekly exercise class for 8 weeks. They were randomly assigned to receive either a vitamin D supplement or no supplement throughout the program. Between-group differences in the effectiveness of the exercise intervention were analyzed. Pre-to-post changes were also assessed for both groups combined. In postexercise comparisons of both groups, knee extensor torque at 0°/sec declined by 18.6% while performance of 1-RM for hip extension increased by 16.1%. Balance also improved. Although vitamin D levels increased significantly in the supplement group, the two groups did not differ in their response to the exercise intervention.

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Pamela E. Toto, Ketki D. Raina, Margo B. Holm, Elizabeth A. Schlenk, Elaine N. Rubinstein and Joan C. Rogers

This single-group repeated-measures pilot study evaluated the effects of a 10-wk, multicomponent, best-practice exercise program on physical activity, performance of activities of daily living (ADLs), physical performance, and depression in community-dwelling older adults from low-income households (N = 15). Comparison of pretest and posttest scores using a one-tailed paired-samples t test showed improvement (p < .05) for 2 of 3 ADL domains on the Activity Measure–Post Acute Care and for 6 physical-performance measures of the Senior Fitness Test. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant main effects for 3 of 8 physical activity measures using the Yale Physical Activity Scale. Retention rate was 78.9%, and the adherence rate for group sessions was 89.7%. Results suggest that participation in a multicomponent, best-practice physical activity program may positively affect sedentary, community-dwelling older adults’ physical activity, ADL performance, and physical performance.

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C. Jessie Jones, Dana N. Rutledge and Jordan Aquino

The purposes of this study were to determine whether people with and without fibromyalgia (FM) age 50 yr and above showed differences in physical performance and perceived functional ability and to determine whether age, gender, depression, and physical activity level altered the impact of FM status on these factors. Dependent variables included perceived function and 6 performance measures (multidimensional balance, aerobic endurance, overall functional mobility, lower body strength, and gait velocity—normal or fast). Independent (predictor) variables were FM status, age, gender, depression, and physical activity level. Results indicated significant differences between adults with and without FM on all physical-performance measures and perceived function. Linear-regression models showed that the contribution of significant predictors was in expected directions. All regression models were significant, accounting for 16–65% of variance in the dependent variables.

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Fuzhong Li, Peter Harmer, K. John Fisher, Junheng Xu, Kathleen Fitzgerald and Naruepon Vongjaturapat

The primary objective of this study was to provide preliminary evaluation of the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of a newly developed Tai Chi-based exercise program for older adults with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Using a one-group pretest-posttest design, 17 community-dwelling adults (mean age 71.51 years) with mild to moderate idiopathic PD (Stage I, II, or III on the Hoehn and Yahr scale) and stable medication use completed a 5-day, 90-min/day Tai Chi exercise-evaluation program. Outcome measures included face-to-face exit interviews on appropriateness and safety and physical performance (i.e., 50-ft speed walk, up-and-go, functional reach). At the end of this brief intervention, exercise adherence was 100% and the program was shown to be safe. Exit interviews indicated that the program was well received by all participants with respect to program appropriateness, participant satisfaction and enjoyment, and intentions to continue. Furthermore, a significant pretest-to-posttest change was observed at the end of the 5-day program in all three physical-performance measures (p < .05). The results of this pilot evaluation suggest that Tai Chi is an appropriate physical activity for older adults with PD and might also be useful as a therapeutic exercise modality for improving and maintaining physical function. These preliminary findings warrant further investigation.

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Rachel A. Hildebrand, Bridget Miller, Aric Warren, Deana Hildebrand and Brenda J. Smith

Increasing evidence indicates that compromised vitamin D status, as indicated by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D), is associated with decreased muscle function. The purpose of this study was to determine the vitamin D status of collegiate athletes residing in the southern U.S. and its effects on muscular strength and anaerobic power. Collegiate athletes (n = 103) from three separate NCAA athletic programs were recruited for the study. Anthropometrics, vitamin D and calcium intake, and sun exposure data were collected along with serum 25-OH D and physical performance measures (Vertical Jump Test, Shuttle Run Test, Triple Hop for Distance Test and the 1 Repetition Maximum Squat Test) to determine the influence of vitamin D status on muscular strength and anaerobic power. Approximately 68% of the study participants were vitamin D adequate (>75 nmol/L), whereas 23% were insufficient (75–50 nmol/L) and 9%, predominantly non-Caucasian athletes, were deficient (<50 nmol/L). Athletes who had lower vitamin D status had reduced performance scores (p < .01) with odds ratios of 0.85 on the Vertical Jump Test, 0.82 on the Shuttle Run Test, 0.28 on the Triple Hop for Distance Test, and 0.23 on the 1 RM Squat Test. These findings demonstrate that even NCAA athletes living in the southern US are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency and that maintaining adequate vitamin D status may be important for these athletes to optimize their muscular strength and power.