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The effects of postural sway and center of pressure visual biofeedback on balance in the elderly

1 May 1991


This study investigated the feasibility of utilizing visual biofeedback as a means of improving balance in ten elderly subjects. The subjects, ranging in the ages of 70-85, with no diagnosed neurological disorders, no lower extremity musculoskeletal surgeries within the last year, and the ability to walk without an assistive device were recruited from two retirement communities. Subjects underwent a four week training program of visual feedback of postural sway three times a week for fifteen minutes each on the Chattecx Balance System. The outcome variables measured were postural sway, center of pressure, sharpened Romberg times and single limb stance times. All tests conducted included eyes open and eyes closed measurements except for single limb stance which was only measured with eyes open. A markedly better performance was revealed when measuring postural sway and sharpened Romberg with eyes open versus eyes closed. Following training, non-dominant single limb stance time increased, however, no other training effect was detected in the study. The lack of improvements may be due to large variations in postural sway from day to day, small number of subjects, limited training time, and a subject group that displayed fairly good balance. It is concluded that further studies need to be completed taking into account the above factors before eliminating visual biofeedback as a means of improving balance.


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