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Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(5):656-63. Epub 2006 Mar 1.

Is fall prevention by vitamin D mediated by a change in postural or dynamic balance?

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1
Department of Rheumatology and Institute of Physical Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Gloriastrasse 25, 8091, Zurich, Switzerland. Heike.Bischoff@usz.ch

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The objectives were:(1) to validate a quantitative balance assessment method for fall risk prediction; (2) to investigate whether the effect of vitamin D and calcium on the risk of falling is mediated through postural or dynamic balance, as assessed by this method.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A secondary analysis of a double blind randomized controlled trial was employed, which included 64 institutionalized elderly women with complete balance assessment (age range: 65-97; mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels: 16.4 ng/ml (SD +/-9.9). Participants received 1,200 mg calcium plus 800 IU cholecalciferol (n=33) or 1,200 mg calcium (n=31) per day over a 3-month treatment period. Using an electronic device attached to the lower back of the participant, balance was assessed as the degree of trunk angular displacement and angular velocity during a postural task (standing on two legs, eyes open, for 20 s) and a dynamic task (get up from a standard height chair with arm rests, sit down and then stand up again and remain standing).

RESULTS:

It was found that both postural and dynamic balance independently and significantly predicted the rate of falling within the 3-month follow-up. Vitamin D plus calcium reduced the rate of falls by 60% [relative risk (RR)=0.40; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.94] if compared with calcium alone. Once postural and dynamic balance were added to the regression analysis, they both attenuated the effect of vitamin D plus calcium on the rate of falls. For postural balance, the RR changed by 22% from 0.40 to 0.62 if angular displacement was added to the model, and by 9% from 0.40 to 0.49 if angular velocity was added. For dynamic balance, it changed by 1% from 0.40 to 0.41 if angular displacement was added, and by 14% from 0.40 to 0.54 if angular velocity was added.

DISCUSSION:

Thus, balance assessment using trunk angular displacement is a valid method for the prediction of falls in older women. Of the observed 60% reduction in the rate of falls by vitamin D plus calcium supplementation compared with calcium alone, up to 22% of the treatment effect was explained by a change in postural balance and up to 14% by dynamic balance.

PMID:
16508700
DOI:
10.1007/s00198-005-0030-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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