Subtle Differences During Posturography Testing Can Influence Postural Sway Results: The Effects of Talking, Time Before Data Acquisition, and Visual Fixation

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 University of Dayton
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The goal of this study was to examine the effects of 3 factors and their interactions on posturography: a period of time to become accustomed to the force platform before the initiation of data collection, presence of a visual fixation point, and participant talking during testing. The postural stability of 30 young adults and 30 older adults was evaluated to determine whether any observed effects were confounded with age. Analysis of variance techniques were used to test all possible combinations of the 3 factors. We hypothesized that all 3 factors would significantly affect postural stability. For both participant groups, the results suggest that a period of time to become accustomed to the force platform before the initiation of data collection and a visual fixation point significantly affect postural control measures, while brief participant talking does not. Despite this, no significant interactions existed suggesting that the effects of these factors, which may occur in clinical testing, do not depend on each other. Our results suggest that inconsistencies in posturography testing methods have the potential to significantly affect the results of posturography, underscoring the importance of developing a standardized testing methodology.

Melissa R. Taylor, Erin E. Sutton, and Kimberly Edginton Bigelow are with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH. Wiebke S. Diestelkamp is with the Department of Mathematics, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH.

Address author correspondence to Kimberly Edginton Bigelow at