Effect of Visual Feedback on Static Balance Features in Elderly Fallers and Non-fallers

The possibility of falling increases dramatically as a person ages. In the elderly population, falling is prevalent causing serious injuries, psychological stress, loss of independence, and even death. However, the risk of falling does not increase equally for all people as they age. Intrinsic factors such as the ability to process visual information affect the balancing strategy. In general, individuals with a high risk of falls will perform differently when performing balancing tasks under different visual conditions. To understand the impact of visual feedback, two groups of elders, one without risk of fall and another with high risk were recorded using three different visual conditions, eyes open, closed eyes, and wearing a dome-shaped helmet. A marker-based system was used to capture the movements of the performers, and their performance was recorded with the help of ten infrared cameras. In addition, two force plates were utilized to record their ground reaction forces. The mean velocity and the sway area of their center of pressure (CoP) were evaluated and compared to quantify their posture. The mean velocity appears to be a more sensitive metric than the sway area. This makes the mean velocity of the CoP a better metric to be used for balance assessment. However, it is not a good metric to distinguish between individuals with different risks of falling.

D. Menychtas, N. Petrou, A. Gkrekidis, E. Kouli, A. Kanavaki, E. Giannakou, V. Gourgoulis, M. Michalopoulou, I. Smilios, E. Douda, G. Sirakoulis, N. Aggelousis

31st International Congress on Physical Education & Sport Science
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