Age-related declines in motor learning may be related to poor visuospatial function. Thus, visuospatial testing could evaluate older adults potential for motor learning, which has implications for geriatric motor rehabilitation. To this end, the purpose of this study was to identify which visuospatial test is most predictive of motor learning within older adults. Forty-five nondemented older adults completed six standardized visuospatial tests, followed by three weekly practice sessions on a functional upper-extremity motor task. Participants were re-tested one month later on the trained task and another untrained upper-extremity motor task to evaluate the durability and generalizability of motor learning, respectively. Principal component analysis first reduced the dimensions of the visuospatial battery to two principal components for inclusion in a mixed-effects model that assessed one-month follow-up performance as a function of baseline performance and the principal components. Of the two components, only one was related to one-month follow-up. Factor loadings and post hoc analyses suggested that of the six visuospatial tests, the Rey-Osterrieth test (visual construction and memory) was related to one-month follow-up of the trained and untrained tasks. Thus, it may be plausible that older adults long-term motor learning capacity could be evaluated using the Rey-Osterrieth test, which would be feasible to administer prior to motor rehabilitation to indicate risk of non-responsiveness to therapy.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience