Long term cosmetic application improves tactile discrimination in the elderly; a new psychophysical approach

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Abstract

Introduction: Tactile sensitivity is impaired in older adults, which contributes to the loss of manual dexterity and mobility function. The reliability of classical psychophysical tests, such as two-point gap discrimination, has been questioned. Here we tested a new method to determine tactile acuity during dynamic touch, which is more functional than static touch. The aim was to validate a method providing a high level of discrimination of tactile acuity in the elderly. Methods: We tested the ability of subjects to evaluate the distance between bands printed on poly-methyl-methacrylate (PMMA) sheets. Pairs of sheets were compared in two groups of participants aged from 60 to 74 years; the test group was required to apply a cosmetic foam with an active ingredient on both their hands twice a day for 1 month, the control group had an identical task but used the same cosmetic foam without any active ingredient. The tests were run in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Results: The tactile discrimination threshold decreased by 83 μm after 1 month of cosmetic application in the group using the active ingredient, while it was unchanged in the control group. Discussion: The test presented here provided highly accurate results and should be useful to determine tactile performance. It allows the monitoring of tactile rehabilitation and/or skin treatments used to restore tactile acuity in the elderly.

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Aimonetti, J. M., Deshayes, C., Crest, M., Cornuault, P. H., Weiland, B., & Ribot-Ciscar, E. (2019). Long term cosmetic application improves tactile discrimination in the elderly; a new psychophysical approach. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 11(JUN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00164

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