Journal of Motor Behavior
The current study was designed to examine the effect of increasing age and type 2 diabetes on the average responses and inter- and intra-individual variability of falls risk, reaction time, strength, and walking speed for healthy older adults and older persons with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Seventy-five older individuals (controls) and 75 persons with T2DM aged between 50-79 years participated in the study. Assessments of falls risk, reaction time (RT), knee extension strength and walking speed were conducted. The results revealed that advancing age for both control and T2DM groups was reflected by a progressive increase in falls risk, decreased leg strength and a decline (i.e. slowing) of reactions and gait speed. Conversely, the level of intra-individual variability for the RT, strength and gait measures increased with increasing age for both groups, with T2DM persons tending to be more variable compared to the healthy controls of similar age. In contrast to the intra-individual changes, measures of inter-individual variability revealed few differences between the healthy elderly and T2DM individuals. Taken together, the findings support the proposition that intra-variability of neuromotor measures may be useful as a biomarker for the early detection of decline in physiological function due to age or disease.
Morrison, Steven and Newell, Karl, "Intraindividual Variability of Neuromotor Function Predicts Falls Risk in Older Adults and those with Type 2 Diabetes" (2019). Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty Publications. 63.