Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ageing and Touch
Hubert R. Dinse & Martin Tegenthoff & Christine Heinisch & Tobias Kalisch
Common wisdom indicates that sensory processes lose efficiency in old age. Glasses and hearing aids are a kind of standard aid for elderly people. Yet, in contrast to vision and hearing, the dramatic age-related deterioration of the sense of touch goes mostly unnoticed because there are no conditions such as reading newspapers or obtaining a driver license that would disclose an impairment of senses. As a result, the sense of touch and its vital role for coping with activities of daily living is widely underestimated. This entry discusses age effects on receptors and tactile perception, haptic perception, and treatability of age effects on touch. Touch perception is built on sensing through receptors, transmission through neurons at various stations along the sensory pathway, and central processing by the brain. As aging affects all components, multiple factors are involved in the age-related decline of the sense of touch. Skin conformance undergoes alterations ...