Old age is normally associated with stereotypical structural and physiological changes in the brain that are caused by deterioration in elementary cognitive, sensory, and sensorimotor functions as well as increased susceptibility to stress. These changes are connected with gait impairment and falls, especially among patients with common neurological diseases. Even in the absence of history of falling or when there is no physical injury after a fall, many older people develop a fear of falling that leads to restricted mobility, reduced activity, depression, social isolation, worsened metabolic disease, and increasing risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although links between cognitive decline and age-associated brain changes have been clarified, relationships between gait disorders and psychophysiological alterations in aging are less well understood. This review focuses on two crucial elements of aged individuals with gait disorders: characteristic comorbidities in the elderly and the psychophysiological effects of physical exercise in the elderly with gait disorder. We propose an integrated approach to studying elderly subjects with gait disorder before starting a program of motor rehabilitation with wearable robotic devices, in order to investigate the effectiveness and safety of the ambulatory training.
Pratali, L., Mastorci, F., Vitiello, N., Sironi, A., Gastaldelli, A., & Gemignani, A. (2014). Motor Activity in Aging: An Integrated Approach for Better Quality of Life. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2014, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/257248