Head-neck rotational movements using DidRen laser test indicate children and seniors’ lower performance
Sensorimotor control strategies during cervical axial rotation movements have been previously explored in narrow age ranges but never concurrently in Children and Seniors during a well-standardized task. However, the lifespan developmental approach provides a framework for research in human sensorimotor control of the head-neck complex. A cross-sectional design was used to investigate the influence of age on head-neck dynamic performance adopted by asymptomatic Children, Adults and Seniors using a standardized task (DidRen Laser test). Participants performed 5 cycles of left/right headneck complex fast rotational movements toward 3 targets with 30˚ of angular separation. Dynamic performances were computed from total execution time of the test and kinematic variables derived from rotational motion of head measured by an optoelectronic system. Eighty-one participants, aged 8–85 yrs, were stratified in four groups: Children, Younger adults, Older adults and Seniors. Children were significantly slower than Younger (p<0.001) and Older adults (p<0.004) and Seniors slower than Younger adults (p<0.017) to perform the test. Children adopted a lower average speed compared to Younger (p<0.001) and Older adults (p<0.008). Children reached the peaks speed significantly later than Younger (p<0.004) and Older adults (p<0.04) and acceleration significantly later than Younger (p<0.001) and Older adults (p<0.013). From the peak acceleration, Children reached end of the cycle significantly slower than Younger (p<0.008) and Older adults (p<0.008). Children significantly differed from all other groups for rotational kinetic energy, with smaller values compared to Younger adults (p<0.001), Older adults (p<0.005) and Seniors (p<0.012). Variability was also significantly higher for Seniors and Children. In conclusion, age influences head-neck visually elicited rotational dynamics, especially in Children. These results suggest that age should be taken into account when establishing normative data and assessing dynamic head-neck sensorimotor control of patients with neck pain.