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J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol. 2013;20(3):e212-28. Epub 2013 Sep 6.

Sensory control of balance: a comparison of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders to children with typical development.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inefficient central processing and integration of visual, vestibular, and somatosensory information may contribute to poor balance and diminished postural control in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

OBJECTIVES:

This pilot study examined sensorimotor performance and the sensory control of balance using a battery of clinical tests in combination with an experimental laboratory assessment that quantifies sensory subsystem use (i.e., sensory weighting) among a systematically diagnosed sample of children with FASD and children with typical development.

METHODS:

Using a case-control design, 10 children with FASD (8.0-15.9 years; 20% female) were compared to 10 age- and sex-matched controls on standardized clinical measures and on kinematic outcomes from the Multimodal Balance Entrainment Response system (MuMBER), a computerized laboratory assessment whereby visual, vestibular, and somatosensory input is manipulated at different frequencies during standing balance.

RESULTS:

Children with FASD showed poorer sensorimotor performance across clinical outcomes with significant group differences (p < .05) on parent-reported movement behaviors (Sensory Processing Measure and Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 Checklist) and performance on the Dynamic Gait Index. Experimental kinematic outcomes yielded statistically significant group differences (p <.10) on a small proportion of somatosensory and vestibular sensory weighting fractions and postural sway velocity in response to the manipulation of sensory input.

CONCLUSIONS:

Preliminary findings showed small group differences in sensorimotor and sensory weighting behaviors, specifically those that rely on the integration of vestibular sensation. Differences must be examined and replicated with a larger sample of children with FASD to understand the impact on balance control and functional sensorimotor behaviors.

PMID:
24163126
PMCID:
PMC4273863
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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