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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1993 Jul;102(7):508-17.

Postural control in young and elderly adults when stance is challenged: clinical versus laboratory measurements.

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Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The use of dynamic posturography (EquiTest) for the characterization of postural control biomechanics would be aided by specific knowledge of what the measured data imply about body segment movements. To investigate this issue, the biomechanics of a group of 15 healthy elderly subjects were compared to those of healthy young subjects by using both dynamic posturography and a laboratory movement and force measuring system. The results from EquiTest were analyzed by 1) routine clinical interpretation of data and 2) a clinical research interpretation by subjecting the EquiTest parameters to additional statistical comparison of mean performance of the young and elderly groups. The young-elderly differences from the 2 EquiTest analyses were then compared to the young-elderly differences derived from the laboratory protocol. The routine clinical interpretation of EquiTest data identified the same increases in sway shown by the laboratory study, but did not reveal the more subtle differences indicated by the laboratory study. When the EquiTest data were subjected to additional statistical analysis, the characterization of difference between young and elderly subjects was the same as that of the laboratory study, with the exception of issues of head versus trunk movement, a measure not made by EquiTest. This essential similarity in the characterization of elderly compared to young subjects by both systems suggests 1) that EquiTest is able to detect subtle differences in biomechanics of postural control between young and elderly healthy adult groups and 2) that implied movements of center of gravity, trunk versus lower limbs, and strength of reaction measures are consistently detected by both EquiTest and the laboratory kinematics and dynamics measurement systems.

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