Background: A better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie the development of fear of falling (FoF) in seniors may help to detect potential treatable factors and reduce future falls. We therefore investigate the neural correlates of FoF in older adults using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). Methods: This cohort study included 117 community-dwelling older adults. At baseline, participants were assessed for FoF, psychiatric symptoms, walking speed, global cognition and cerebral glucose metabolism with FDG-PET. The incidence of FoF in the participants who did not report FoF (N-FoF) at baseline was again ascertained 2 years later. FDG uptake was compared between the FoF and non-FoF groups. Logistic regression analyses to examine the predictors of newly developed FoF (D-FoF) using normalized regional FDG uptake were then performed. Results: At baseline, 50.4% (n = 59) of participants had FoF. The FoF group had significantly decreased glucose metabolism in the left superior frontal gyrus (supplementary motor area, SMA; BA6) compared to the non-FoF group. After 2 years, 19 out of the 58 participants in the non-FoF group developed FoF. Logistic regression analysis revealed that decreased cerebral glucose metabolism in the left SMA at the baseline was a significant predictor of the future development of FoF, independently of psychiatric symptoms and walking speed. Conclusion: In healthy older adults, hypometabolism in the left SMA, which is involved in motor planning and motor coordination, contributes to the development of FoF. Our result might help elucidate underlying mechanism of the association between deficits in motor control and FoF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience