VIBRATORY THRESHOLDS AND MOBILITY IN OLDER PERSONS

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Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that vibratory thresholds in the elderly are related to mobility. In all, 629 older persons without dementia underwent testing including 11 lower extremity performance measures and modified United Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), summarized as composite mobility and global parkinsonian signs. Vibratory thresholds were measured at the ankle and toes bilaterally using the graduated Rydel–Seiffer tuning fork. In linear regression models adjusted for age, sex, and education, vibratory threshold was associated with composite mobility (estimate, 0.047, SE = 0.011, P < 0.001) and global parkinsonian signs score (estimate, −0.252, SE = 0.126, P = 0.047). These findings were primarily due to the association of vibratory threshold with gait and balance components of composite mobility and parkinsonian gait. These results were unchanged when we controlled for body mass index, physical activity, cognition, depression, vascular risk factors, vascular disease burden, joint pain, and falls. Vibratory thresholds are associated with mobility, supporting the link between peripheral sensory nerve function and mobility in the elderly. Muscle Nerve, 2009

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