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Normative Data for Common Clinical Neurological Tests in the Young-Old, Middle-Old and Old-Old

1 March 1998


Our study was an attempt to collect normative data on the following static standing balance and coordination tests: normal Romberg (NR), sharpened Romberg,(SR) and one-legged stance (OLST), all in eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (BC) conditions heel to knee (HTK) right and left and alternating toe tapping (ATT) in slow and fast conditions. We assessed the performance of community-dwelling older females and males and grouped them by age and gender into the following age ranges: young-old (65-74), middle-old (75-84) and old-old (85 and older). Currently there is no data comparing young-old, middle-old, and old-old for the ten tests. Our intent was also to clearly define procedures for these tests. Ninety-eight people ages sixty-five or older, able to ambulate without a walker and with no central nervous system or vestibular disorders that affect balance, were recruited from area retirement centers and churches. Subjects completed an activity level and history of falls questionnaire prior to being tested in random order on the ten tests. The maximum time allowed for all standing balance tests was two minutes. The maximum time allowed for ATTf and ATTs was 30 seconds. For HTK the number of deviations of the" heel from the shin was recorded. Interclass correlation coefficient demonstrated that there was significant correlation between first and best trials on all tests, therefore the best time was used for data analysis. A significant difference was found among age groups for SREO, OLSTEO and Ee, ATTf and HTKr. The results of this study indicate that the mean best scores significantly decrease with age and that there is a significant difference between males and females on some tests of balance. A larger, randomly selected population and improved standardization of the HTK and ATT tests would strengthen the quality of the database.


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