Left & Right Laterality Judgement in the Athletic Older Population

Courtney Kirkeide, SPT and Blake Story, SPT

(Click on image to expand)

17 Comments on “Left & Right Laterality Judgement in the Athletic Older Population

  1. In the 40 images that were shown, was there an equal amount of hands shown from different angles (upside down vs right side up)? If not, do you think this may have contributed to the results as it is easier to discern right from left if the hand is in a right side up position?

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    • The 40 images shown were randomized during each trial regarding the different angles of the hands; however, there was an equal amount of right and left hand images (20 each). If during a trial the right hand was displayed more frequently in a right side up position this could potentially influence the results. However, you could also state that completing multiple trials also can contribute to the results as the participants are become more familiar with the app.

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  2. Interesting read! Just out of curiosity, when reviewing the literature did you come across any studies examining the role the type of activity or sport may play in LRJ outcomes? For example, an individual who must coordinate use of their hands during sport as opposed to someone who walks.

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    • Good question. In the literature review, we were unable to find any specific studies that have examined sport specific effects on laterality judgement. The research on laterality is still relatively new compared to other subjects that have been around for multiple decades, so the literature in this area is slowly growing over time. The biggest thing that the research shows is that those who are participating in any event in general tend to have better scores compared to those who are sedentary in their lifestyle.

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  3. In your introduction, you guys mentioned a study that found patients with chronic pain have slower reaction times and less accuracy. Did your screen/questionnaire address any pain that the participants may have been in at the time? Or did you address this aspect throughout your research at all?

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    • Good question. We did not include this in our questionnaire as our research was not focusing on patients with chronic pain. Our research was specific to the elderly who play sports and if their results are maintained as they age. However, it is important to mention this connection with chronic pain and laterality scores since the research shows that there may be a correlation. This helps to signify the importance on gathering data for many populations, including the elderly who play sports (like what our study focused on).

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  4. I love that you are expanding on research involving active older adults as this population is commonly overlooked in the literature. According to your results, normative values regarding accuracy of LRJ declined significantly after 80 years of age. Why do you believe this decline occurs during the 8th decade specifically? Have you found literature which suggests athletes of this age group experience greater sensory/motor/cognitive declines which leads to the large decline in accuracy?

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    • Good question. The trend observed in our research did indicate a slight trend of declining performance around the age of 80. However, we were not able to confidently pin-point a reason as to why it happens at this decade in life. We did not find any research stating that when a person turns 80 years old that there sensory/motor/cognitive specifically declines. However, we did find some research which suggests that as we age, our ability to perform motor tasks and cognitive functions are not the same as we age. There is no specific “age” associated with these changes, but rather that a trend is observed over time as a person ages. We suspect similar reasoning for why our participants scored worse as they got older also. However, another group could perform a similar study and they may have changes that occur at a different age besides 80 (due to our small sample size, we cannot generalize this observed trend). In general, as we age, the laterality scores have a tendency to decline.

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  5. Nice poster guys! During my second clinical, my CI used left right discrimination a lot for patient’s with chronic LBP. He used the card set with images showing backs leaning in various directions because that was the area likely “smudged”. Along with that he mentioned he has found that in general his patient’s have had greater difficulty differentiating left and right back images as opposed to hand images. Did you choose to use hand images because of the likely prominent use in this athletic population? Or why did you choose hand images as opposed to feet, backs, etc?

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    • Thanks Beth! That is awesome to hear you were able to experience clinicians using left/right discrimination. I am curious how did your patients change throughout your time? I would agree that back images would be more difficult as opposed to hand images as the thumb can really assist in being the differentiating factor between left and right. We did not specifically choose hand images because of the athletic population rather the hand photos were available to us in the form of an app on the ipad. Dr. Zimney had previously done research with using photos of hands (card set) previously and as a team we decided to continue looking into left/right judgement with the hands.

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  6. Great summary on a very intriguing topic! One question I had was if you compared the results to the known averages or did you utilize a control group? With that being said, were you able to determine exercise as the only independent variable through a questionnaire? Perhaps these older adults have a better diet or sleeping schedule that could have contributed to their performance in LRJ.

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  7. Our research was focused on gather data on the athletic older adult population and compared it to normative data compiled from previous studies for middle aged adults, thus we did not utilized a control group. The questionnaires participants filled out assisted in gathering information on handiness as well as information regarding fitness and exercises. It would be interesting compiling data on diet and sleep to determine if these variables play a role in LRJ performance.

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  8. Great poster Courtney and Blake. I was wondering when performing your research if you guys took note of which sports the majority of the athletes were? Also I was wondering if you guys found any research on whether or not if a person played a sport that required more hand eye coordination if that increased scores, and if not what your guys thoughts were on that. Thanks!

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    • Good question. We did keep track of the sports that were played but we did not find any significant results that would indicate someone performing better based off of their sport. This is likely due to the lack of participants as well as the fact that many athletes participated in several events. It was not uncommon to have an athlete come by who would is performing five or more events. This would also make it difficult to pin-point which sporting event would contribute to a significant finding (if there were to be one). Good question!

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  9. Great job on the poster! I was wondering if there is anything significant about either accuracy or reaction time declining simultaneously or one faster than the other for an individual?

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    • There is no research indicating if one or the other is more substantial to be losing as an individual ages. Currently, it is just known that both will decline as people age, but nothing is known if one is more crucial to a person’s health status or if one will decline faster. Good question!

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  10. Hi guys! I like how you arranged the poster and the images to help. Question that you may not have looked into for this research project necessarily but curious if you found anything in research that said how long you treat with the images to help de-smudge the body schema in the brain? should you expect it to work right away? just curious thanks!

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