A Cross Sectional Cohort of the Healthy Older Adult Population’s Ability with Left-Right Judgement Task

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17 Comments on “A Cross Sectional Cohort of the Healthy Older Adult Population’s Ability with Left-Right Judgement Task

  1. BAILEY RUDEBUSCH (15 hours ago): The poster looks great! My question is if there was a specific reason you excluded those who were receiving treatment for pain complaints? What was your reasoning, and do you think this would have significantly altered your results?

    CODY DAVIS reply (4 hours ago): Good question, and very pertinent to the overall clinical significance of our study. There is growing evidence that shows correlations between chronic pain and ones ability to perform this motor task, suggesting that the presence of chronic pain may manifest as deficits in motor imagery. Therefore, this finding may support the notion that improving ones ability to accurately and quickly perform the left/right judgement

    task would lead to improvements in chronic pain. The objective of our study was to establish a baseline where healthy adults should score on the left/right judgement task. This would allow future studies to use these scores as a means of comparison in order to identify when someone is experiencing a deficit relative to their age. We did not want our test subjects to be experiencing any type of pain condition, as this would remove them from the category of a “healthy” older adult. The assumption would be that someone with a pain condition, such as fibromyalgia, would score worse on the left/right judgment task, thereby skewing our results.

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  2. ANDREW TAVERNA (3 days ago): You all did great with the poster, it was very interesting! My question is if there has been any evidence to suggest that those who have impairments with L-R judgement tasks are more likely to have impairments with other sensory/motor integration demands, such as with dual-task performance or functional balance testing? If not, would you expect that it would be beneficial to assess LRJT for individuals demonstrating decreased functional mobility/balance based on your study? Thank you for your time!

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    • Good question Andy! We didn’t look at this in particular. The purpose of our study was to find a norm for healthy older adults, as there are no norms currently, so comparisons could be made to patients with chronic pain. The reason we want to compare with chronic pain is because those individuals have shown to demonstrate an impaired body schema, which is what the LRJT is measuring. It does seem, however, that exercise can influence the LRJT. In previous studies, senior athletes have shown faster reaction times and better accuracy. Given this information, we may assume that activity levels have an influence on our cognitive processing and body schema which is used for the LRJT. Additionally, past research has found that patients with chronic pain have slower reaction times and decreased accuracy. Those in chronic pain also probably have decreased functional mobility. I think it would be important to figure out the cause of patient’s decreased functional mobility (ex if the patient has decreased mobility due to chronic pain) in order to determine if the LRJT is appropriate for them. I hope that helped!

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  3. MADASON LEIF (4 days ago): Great poster! I know you guys only analyzed your results based on age group but looking at the demographics of your study population there seem to be more females. My question is if you think the results would differ between genders? Why or Why not?

    WHITNEY SMITH reply (17 hours ago): That is a very interesting question Madason! As you noticed, we did not have an equal number of men and women in our study so we could not compare the differences between genders. I did some research into your question, and the articles I referenced did find a difference between genders for laterality. The articles found that men performed better with left-right discrimination than women. One article I found stated that men and women utilize different pathways in the brain when learning or solving problems. This could mean that men and women use motor imagery in slightly different ways and that attributes to differences in LRJT. I think this is a very interesting topic that could be explored more in the future!

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  4. HALEY FRITZA (5 days ago): Hello! Great research topic. My question to you all would be, are your results indicating that if patients exercise and demonstrate a quicker reaction time, would this then suggest that they would experience less chronic pain?

    BAILEY VOLMER reply (5 days ago): Great question Haley! We didn’t specifically look at exercise in this study. We asked participants about their exercise level, but we did not find any correlation between the amount of exercise with accuracy and reaction time in this research/population. However, previous research by Dr. Zimney looked at the LRJT in senior athletes.
    When comparing his results with what we gathered in community dwelling older adults, it was found that the community dwelling older adults did have slower reaction times and worse accuracy than the senior athletes. This information would suggest that exercise may have an influence on the LRJT, but further research would be needed as there are no norms currently for healthy community dwelling older adults to compare with. Additionally, past research has shown that patients with chronic pain do demonstrate slower reaction times with the LRJT. People who are in pain experience a disruption with the processing of their painful body part which affects their motor imagery and thus impacts their ability to identify quickly and accurately left or right body parts. With knowing this information, it may be beneficial to assess and treat the LRJT in patients with chronic pain to improve their overall functional status. I hope that answered your question!

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  5. Hello! Your poster looks great! Maybe I missed this, but in your limitations you stated that participants used different methods for LRJT. I was wondering what these different methods were and how you think they may have affected your study.

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    • Good question Kaylee! Some of the participants sat in front of the iPad and completed the LRJT based on rotating the images in their head. Other participants physically rotated their own hand to match with the image on the screen so that they knew if it was a picture of a right or left hand. For patients that physically rotated their hand, it may not have been a true representation of how accurate and how quickly they can rely on motor imagery to complete the LRJT. However, more research would need to be done to see if there is a significant difference in reaction time and accuracy with the two methods.

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  6. Great poster! My question is in regard to your exclusion criteria. How did you differentiate between Left Right Judgement confusion and poor ability to execute Left Right Judgement?

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    • Great question Madison! Regarding our exclusion criteria of Left Right Judgement confusion we assessed that based on the participant’s ability to differentiate their left hand from their right hand when asked about hand dominance. If a participant were unable to distinguish L from R on their own body they were not included in this study. Within our actual study we differentiated Left Right Judgement task based on their ability to distinguish L from R after looking at images; this task better examines a persons body schema and motor imagery. It can be inferred that a person already struggling to differentiate L from R on their own body may suffer from other cognitive or mental delays so we did not include them in our study. I hope that answers your question!

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  7. Great poster and a very interesting topic! In reading I noticed that there were no noted differences LRJT scores in subjects who exercised and those who did not. However, other studies suggested a more positive outcomes for those that were more active such as senior athletes. Is there a certain point to which exercise becomes relevant in one’s ability to score well and is no longer negligible or are these findings due to limits of the sample size?

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    • Great question Kino! Included in our limitations we mentioned exercise performed each week might be inaccurate due to our participants inability to recall the accurate amount of physical activity they partake in. Some participants may have recorded that they are very active, however, “very active” to them may mean they walk to and from the mailbox each morning. Ultimately, as a group we concluded the some participants may have been confused by that question which may have skewed the results. To answer your question, it is very likely the results of our study may be misleading due to inaccurate reports of physical activity from each participant. It can be inferred that senior athletes would demonstrate quicker ability with LRJT. I believe we mention that further research comparing the two populations (senior athletes and regular senior citizens) may give us a more accurate answer to our question. I hope that answered your question!

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  8. Great poster and very interesting study! One question I had was whether you think that if you would have tested a larger sample size with a broader age range (i.e., 18-95), you would have seen a correlation between age group and reactions or accuracy?

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    • Great question, Amanda, and thank you for your feedback. During our research process, we found several studies that had looked into reaction times and accuracy for larger age groups (ranging from 10-90 years old) and found a correlation that as individuals age, their reaction time and accuracy decrease. However, I do think that with an increased number of subjects, the results of our study could potentially show a stronger correlation between age group and reactions and accuracy.

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  9. Great work with your research study and poster presentation! I found your study to be very interesting and was intrigued to read your findings. Your poster was organized well, and I thought everything was clear and concise, making it an easy read. A couple questions that came to mind as I was reading: What was your hypothesis for this study? Did you think there would be significant differences between age groups for reaction time and accuracy? It was somewhat surprising to me, so I am curious as to what you guys thought. I also am wondering what you hypothesized regarding the correlation between exercise and accuracy/reaction times with the LRJT performance. You mentioned in your discussion that the community dwelling older adults of your study performed slower and with less accuracy when compared to Senior Athletes of previous research. If this suggests that exercise does in fact influence LRJT performance, do you believe there is a certain mode of exercise that would improve accuracy/reaction time in older adults?

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    • Hello Jaci! Thank you so much for your feedback on our project; it is greatly appreciated. To answer your questions: First, we hypothesized that as adults age, we predicted that both their accuracy and reaction time would decline, as this was the trend being identified in current research. We did think that this prediction would show a significant difference between the age groups for reaction times and accuracy. Second, we hypothesized that exercise played a role in accuracy/reaction times with LRJT performance. In our study, we assessed exercise in questions such as type of exercise (aerobic versus strength training) in minutes as well as the number of days exercising. We believe that exercise does positively impact an individual’s mind and body. We also know that an improvement in accuracy and reaction times can be achieved through practice and exercise. You bring up an interesting point regarding the specific mode of exercise impacting accuracy/reaction times in older adults. I think this would be an interesting topic to pursue further.

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  10. Good job on this poster, it was really interesting! I know you guys said that there was a trade off between speed and accuracy, my question to you guys is, when working on LRJT is there more priority on training speed or accuracy first?

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    • Interesting question, and something we didn’t put much thought into. I believe our research team would all agree that accuracy would be important to prioritize first. We would want someone to be accurate with the left/right judgement task first and foremost and actually perform the mental rotation, as opposed to going through images as quickly as possible, resulting in a lot of guessing. As accuracy improves, we would then want to progress how quickly one can select the correct image. We could relate this to any type of cognitive or motor task, where the same principal would hold true.

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