Research Article  |   April 2015
Measuring Change in Somatosensation Across the Lifespan
Author Affiliations
  • Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Health Professions, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; wdunn@kumc.edu
  • James W. Griffith, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago
  • Dory Sabata, OTD, OTR, FAOTA, is Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Health Professions, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
  • Mary T. Morrison, OTD, OTR, is Adjunct Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Health Professions, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
  • Joy C. MacDermid, PhD, OTR, is Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
  • Amy Darragh, PhD, OTR, is Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Roseann Schaaf, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, Jefferson School of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Brian Dudgeon, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Lisa Tabor Connor, PhD, MSOT, is Inaugural Chair and Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston
  • Leeanne Carey, PhD, OTR, is Head, Division of Neurorehabilitation and Recovery, National Stroke Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Jennifer Tanquary, MEd, is Research Program Administrator, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Health Professions, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
Article Information
Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   April 2015
Measuring Change in Somatosensation Across the Lifespan
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2015, Vol. 69, 6903290020p1-6903290020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.014845
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2015, Vol. 69, 6903290020p1-6903290020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.014845
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The study aim was to determine natural variability in somatosensation across age groups using brief measures. We validated measures in a community-dwelling population as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function (NIH Toolbox; http://www.nihtoolbox.org).

METHOD. Participants included community-dwelling children and adults (N = 367, ages 3–85 yr) across seven sites. We tested haptic recognition, touch detection–discrimination, and proprioception using brief affordable measures as required by the NIH Toolbox.

RESULTS. Accuracy improved from young children to young adults; from young to older adults, the pattern reversed slightly. We found significant differences between adults and older adults. One proprioception test (kinesthesia; p =.003) showed gender differences (females more accurate). We provide expected score ranges for age groups as a basis for understanding age-related expectations for somatosensory perception.

CONCLUSION. The age-related patterns of somatosensory perception from this study refine decision making about performance.