Age-related changes in the adaptability of neuromuscular output

Steven Morrison, Jacob Sosnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aging process is associated with a general decline in biological function. One characteristic that researchers believe represents this diminished functioning of the aging neuromuscular system is increased physiological tremor. The present study is constructed to assess what age-related differences exist in the dynamics of tremor and forearm muscle activity under postural conditions in which the number of arm segments involved in the task was altered. The authors predicted that any alteration in the tremor or electromyographic (EMG) output of these two groups would provide a clearer understanding of the differential effects of aging or task dynamics on physiological function. Results reveal no age-related differences in finger tremor or forearm extensor muscle EMG activity under conditions in which participants were only required to extend their index finger against gravity. However, when participants had to hold their entire upper limb steady against gravity, the authors observed significant increases in forearm EMG activity, finger-tremor amplitude, power in the 8-12-Hz range, and signal regularity between the 2 age groups. The selective changes in signal regularity, EMG activity, and 8-12-Hz tremor amplitude under more challenging postural demands support the view that the age-related changes in neuromuscular dynamics are not fully elucidated when single task demands are utilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-288
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Aging
  • Complexity
  • EMG
  • Physiological tremor
  • Posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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