Age-related differences in bimanual movements: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background:

With increasing age motor functions decline. The additional challenges of executing bimanual movements further hinder motor functions in older adults. The current systematic review and meta-analysis determined the effects of healthy aging on performance in bimanual movements as compared to younger adults.

Methods:

Our comprehensive search identified 27 studies that reported bimanual movement performance measures. Each study included a between groups comparison of older (mean age = 68.79 years) and younger adults (mean age = 23.14 years). The 27 qualified studies generated 40 total outcome measure comparisons: (a) accuracy: 18, (b) variability: 14, and (c) movement time: eight.

Results:

Our meta-analysis conducted on a random effects model identified a relatively large negative standardized mean difference effect (ES = −0.93). This indicates that older adults exhibited more impaired bimanual movement performance in comparison to younger adults in our group of studies. Specifically, a moderator variable analysis revealed large negative effects in both accuracy (ES = −0.94) and variability (ES = −1.00), as well as a moderate negative effect (ES = −0.71) for movement time. These findings indicate that older adults displayed reduced accuracy, greater variability, and longer execution time when executing bimanual movements.

Conclusion:

These meta-analytic findings revealed that aging impairs bimanual movement performance.

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