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Holt RJ, Lefevre AS, Flatters IJ, Culmer PR, Wilkie RM, Henson BW, Bingham GP, Mon-Williams MA (2013) Grasping the changes seen in older adults when reaching for objects of varied texture. Public Library of Science ONE, 8(7):e69040      
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Abstract
Old age is associated with reduced mobility of the hand. To investigate age related decline when reaching-to-lift an object we used sophisticated kinematic apparatus to record reaches carried out by healthy older and younger participants. Three objects of different widths were placed at three different distances, with objects having either a high or low friction surface (i.e. rough or slippery). Older participants showed quantitative differences to their younger counterparts - movements were slower and peak speed did not scale with object distance. There were also qualitative differences with older adults showing a greater propensity to stop the hand and adjust finger position before lifting objects. The older participants particularly struggled to lift wide slippery objects, apparently due to an inability to manipulate their grasp to provide the level of precision necessary to functionally enclose the object. These data shed light on the nature of age related changes in reaching-to-grasp movements and establish a powerful technique for exploring how different product designs will impact on prehensile behavior