Purpose: In a previous study, we reported that a short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) decreases in old but not in young adults when standing on foam vs. a rigid surface. Here, we examined if such an age by task difficulty interaction in motor cortical excitability also occurs in easier standing tasks. Methods: Fourteen young (23 ± 2.7 years) and fourteen old (65 ± 4.1 years) adults received transcranial magnetic brain stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation, while they stood with or without support on a force platform. Results: In the soleus, we found that SICI was lower in unsupported (35 % inhibition) vs. supported (50 %) standing (p = 0.007) but similar in young vs. old adults (p = 0.591). In the tibialis anterior, SICI was similar between conditions (p = 0.597) but lower in old (52 %) vs. young (72 %) adults (p = 0.030). Age and standing with or without support did not affect the Hoffmann reflex in the soleus. Conclusions: The current data suggest that the motor cortex is involved in standing control, and that its role becomes more prominent with an increase in task difficulty.
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
- Short-interval intracortical inhibition
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)