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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(10):1401-10. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2013.02.0042.

Objective and subjective measures reflect different aspects of balance in multiple sclerosis.

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Oregon Health & Science University-Neurology, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd L226, Portland, OR 97239.


The objective of this study was to evaluate relationships between subjective and objective measures of balance in multiple sclerosis (MS). In 54 subjects with MS, balance was measured objectively with the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) using dynamic posturography and subjectively with the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale and the Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I). MS-related disability was assessed with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Relationships between the magnitude (root mean square, range, and area) as well as velocity of center of pressure sway (calculated from the center of pressure signal from the SOT), composite SOT, ABC Scale, FES-I, and EDSS scores were assessed. The magnitude and velocity of center of pressure sway was statistically significantly correlated with the ABC Scale (rho = -0.2 to -0.5), FES-I (rho = 0.3 to 0.5), and EDSS (rho = 0.3 to 0.4). The composite SOT was also statistically significantly correlated with the ABC Scale, FES-I, and EDSS. Objective balance measures, as reflected by posturography, were significantly related to subjective reports of imbalance and clinical measures of disability in MS. The relationships are moderate to weak, indicating that a comprehensive description of balance problems in people with MS likely requires both objective and subjective balance measures.


accidental falls; cohort studies; disability; imbalance; measurement; multiple sclerosis; physical examination; postural balance; posturography; questionnaires

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