Motor asymmetry reduction in older adults

Andrzej Przybyla, Kathleen Y. Haaland, Leia B. Bagesteiro, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


While cerebral lateralization has previously been well documented for many neurobehavioral functions, recent research has shown that as people age, formerly lateralized processes recruit more symmetric patterns of neural activity. Such findings provide the foundation for the model of hemispheric asymmetry reduction in older adults, or " HAROLD" [4]. Previous studies that have measured reaction time and movement time have suggested that aging does not affect manual asymmetries. However, whether these findings can be extended to kinematic variables associated with motor coordination remains largely unknown. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether asymmetries in intralimb coordination are also reduced during the aging process. We examined multidirectional reaching in two different right handed age groups, a younger group from 20 to 40 years of age, and an older group, from 60 to 80 years of age. Measures of final position accuracy, precision, and trajectory linearity showed robust asymmetries between the left and right arm groups of young adults. However, the trajectories and accuracies of the older subjects were symmetric, such that our dependent measures were not significantly different between the right and left arm groups. Our findings extend the HAROLD model to motor behavior, suggesting that aging results in decrements in motor lateralization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 4 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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