Aging and postural control. A comparison of spontaneous- and induced-sway balance tests

B E Maki, P J Holliday, G R Fernie
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1990, 38 (1): 1-9
Two different balance testing methods were compared: (1) measurement of spontaneous postural sway during quiet standing, and (2) measurement of induced postural sway in response to an applied postural perturbation. Eyes-open tests were performed in 64 healthy young and elderly adults and in five elderly subjects with a history of falling. In both balance tests, the sway was defined in terms of the displacement of the center of pressure on the feet. Spontaneous sway was quantified using a number of different amplitude- and frequency-based parameters. Induced sway was measured in response to anterior-posterior acceleration of a platform on which the subject stood. The induced-sway test was specially designed to be safe and nonthreatening for elderly subjects; thus, the platform perturbation was confined to small accelerations and a gentle pseudorandom motion was used. To derive a measure of postural stability, the data from this test were fitted with a model that was then used to predict the response to sudden (transient) perturbations, thereby simulating the response in actual falls. Although both induced- and spontaneous-sway measures demonstrated significant aging-related decreases in stability, the differences were more pronounced for the induced-sway data. Conversely, some of the spontaneous-sway measures were much more successful in distinguishing the fallers from the nonfallers. There was a significant correlation between induced-sway and certain spontaneous-sway measures in the normal young adults; however, in the elderly normals and fallers, the data from the two types of balance tests either showed no correlation or, for certain spontaneous-sway measures, tended to show an inverse relationship.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"