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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Ann Williams, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

John Medeiros, PhD, PT


The incidence of falling in the elderly is a major problem today. This places demands on the health care provider for development of successful program interventions for falls prevention. Increased postural sway has been related to increasing age and falling. However, research results on successful strategies to reduce postural sway have been ambiguous. This study investigated the effects of two methods of balance training protocols utilizing visual biofeedback in order to decrease postural sway in elderly subjects with a known history of falling. The two protocols used were identified as active weight shifting (AWS) and passive weight shifting (PWS). The results showed a significant decrease in postural sway in those subjects who were trained with passive weight shifting with the use of visual biofeedback. However, these benefits of improved balance performance were not long lasting. Confidence of elders during ambulation was enhanced. This study demonstrated that if training is specifically targeted to utilize activities that challenge the sensory systems, improvement in those systems can result.


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