Postural sway does not differentiate between balance disorders. Head kinematics within a salient, immersive environment could potentially help identifying movement patterns that are unique to vestibular dysfunction. We describe a virtual park scene, where participants are asked to avoid a virtual ball approaching their head, to target dynamic balance and quantify head movement strategy. Sixteen patients with vestibular dysfunction and 16 healthy controls were wearing the Oculus Rift and performed the “park” scene on floor and stability trainers. Significant between-group differences emerged in head path (patients rotated their head sideways more), head acceleration (controls had higher acceleration, especially on translation movements), and peak frequency (controls peaked around the frequency of the ball whereas patients were variable). Those findings demonstrated good to excellent test–retest reliability. There were no significant between-group differences in postural sway parameters. Future studies should establish norms across different levels of balance dysfunction and investigate the underlying mechanism leading to the movement strategy observed.
Anat V. Lubetzky, Bryan D. Hujsak, Gene Fu and Ken Perlin
Femke van Abswoude, John van der Kamp and Bert Steenbergen
Effective learning methods are essential for motor skill development and participation in children with low motor abilities. Current learning methods predominantly aim to increase declarative knowledge through explicit instructions that necessitate sufficient working memory capacity. This study investigated the roles of declarative knowledge and working memory capacity in explicit motor learning of children with low motor abilities. We studied both acquisition performance (i.e., performance during practice) and learning (i.e., the improvement in performance from pretest to posttest). After practice with explicit instructions, children with low motor abilities showed significant learning, albeit that improvement was relatively small. However, working memory capacity and declarative knowledge did not predict learning. By contrast, working memory capacity and declarative knowledge did predict performance during practice. These findings suggest that explicit instructions enhance motor performance during practice, but that motor learning per se is largely implicit in children with low motor abilities.
Kai Yan Lui, Patricia Hewston and Nandini Deshpande
During sit-to-stand (STS), the vestibular system is highly stimulated in response to linear acceleration of the head and may play an important role, in addition to vision, for postural control. We examined the effects of aging on visual–vestibular interaction for postural control during STS in 15 young (22.5 ± 1.1 years) and 15 older (73.9 ± 5.3 years) participants. Vestibular information was manipulated using galvanic vestibular stimulation. Vision conditions involved normal (eyes open), suboptimal (blurring goggles), and no (eyes closed) vision. Older participants had significantly greater mediolateral peak-to-peak trunk roll (p = .025) and center of mass displacements (p < .001) than young participants. However, despite having greater mediolateral instability, older participants utilized similar strategies as young participants to overcome sensory perturbations during STS. Overall visual inputs were more dominantly used for mediolateral trunk control during STS than vestibular inputs.
Rachael E. Flatt and Craig Barr Taylor
Eating disorders (EDs) are common amongst athletes, yet few receive treatment. Given that athletes have a unique set of risk factors for eating disorders and are faced with additional barriers to treatment, new models outside of face-to-face treatment are necessary to reach the population and provide more affordable, tailored, evidence-based care. One solution is to use digital mental health programs to provide primary or supplemental therapy. Digital programs can provide accessibility and privacy, and recent advancements allow for more personalized online experiences. However, there have been no studies to date that integrate technology-based tools to address the especially high prevalence rates of EDs in athletes. This paper describes how an integrated model that includes online screening linked to guided self-help programs, all adapted specifically for athletes, can be used to provide prevention and intervention of EDs in athletes.
Jenny H. Conviser, Amanda Schlitzer Tierney and Riley Nickols
It is estimated that 1.6 million people in the United States are currently diagnosed with an eating disorder. Eating disorders (EDs) have high rates of morbidity and mortality and remain the most severe mental illness. Unfortunately, rates of EDs and disordered eating behaviors (DEBs) among athletes appear to be increasing. In this study, authors summarize ED-related risks that pose compromises in psychological and social functioning, medical health, and overall quality of life. The importance of early detection and formal evaluation in preserving the athlete’s health, well-being and sustaining successful sport participation, and performance are highlighted. Athlete-specific factors, which challenge the ease and accuracy of ED detection and assessment, are noted. The recommended components of effective ED assessment are identified, including use of self-report measures and clinical interviews conducted by ED certified and licensed professionals. The importance of being well informed in tenets of ED awareness, prevention and supporting early detection, and referral for formal ED assessment are noted. Conclusions reflect the vital roles that both the multidisciplinary sport personnel and the sport environment/culture play in reducing the serious health risks of DEBs and EDs. Each is needed to protect an athlete’s well-being while fostering safe and successful sport participation.
Sasha Gorrell and Drew A. Anderson
Purpose: The current study evaluated associations between exercise identity (Exercise Identity Scale; EIS), compulsive exercise (Compulsive Exercise Test; CET), and their association with Eating Disorder Examination – Questionnaire (EDE-Q) scores among adult runners registered for mid- and long-distance races (N = 282, 48.2% male). Methods: Runners of half and full marathon races completed the EIS, CET, and EDE-Q. Results: Regression analyses indicated that increased EIS, b = −.21, and CET, b = −3.25, scores contribute to decreased eating pathology amongst half-marathon runners; a significant interaction effect emerged for EIS × CET scores, b = .08, such that relations between EIS and EDEQ scores were significant among runners reporting either lower or higher CET scores. These associations were not demonstrated in marathon runners. Conclusions: Results suggest that it is beneficial to consider running status when addressing the effect that exercise identity and compulsive exercise may have on eating pathology in competitive runners.
A.P. (Karin) de Bruin and Raôul R.D. Oudejans
The aim of the study was to investigate if and how body image, taken from a contextual perspective, contributes to the eating disorder history. This qualitative study investigated the process of eating disorder development in eight elite women athletes in at-risk sports. The results showed that the relationship between eating disorder symptomatology and the sports environment was clearly recognized by the elite women athletes. Contextual body image, more specifically negative body-evaluations and upward body comparisons, appeared as an important factor in the development of eating disorders, particularly in the athletic context. It became clear that the two aesthetic and two endurance athletes as well as the two weight-class athletes in rowing described quite negative body evaluations in the context of sport, while some of them also recognized an impact of body image experiences in daily life. However, for both judokas, their eating disorder had nothing to do with their body image but was attributed to the weight-classes in their sport and accompanying weight making. Several unique trajectories and individual eating disorder histories were distinguished which confirms the value of taking a qualitative approach in investigating eating disorders in sport. We also discovered links between what the athletes had reported as contributors to their eating disorder history and how they told their stories by combining content analysis and narrative inquiry. Furthermore, the present study also highlights several critical aspects for prevention and treatment that should support sport federations and clinical sport psychologists in taking appropriate actions to deal more effectively with eating disorders in athletes.
Anamaria Laudet Silva Mangubat, Janet Hanwen Zhang, Zoe Yau-Shan Chan, Aislinn Joan MacPhail, Ivan Pui-Hung Au and Roy Tsz-Hei Cheung
A stable gaze is necessary to optimize visual conditions during running. Head accelerations generally remain stable when looking in front; however, it is unclear if this response is similar when the head is turned sideways, and whether other adaptive strategies are present to maintain this stability. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine whether runners maintained stable head accelerations while gazing at fixed targets in front and to their sides. The authors collected biomechanical data from 13 runners as they directed their gaze to visual targets located in front, 45°, and 90° to the sides at a random sequence. Vertical head and tibial accelerations were the primary outcome measures, while vertical loading rate, footstrike angle, contact time, stride length, and stride rate were the secondary measures. A reduction in vertical head accelerations was found in the rightmost direction (P = .04), while an increase in vertical tibial accelerations was found on the same direction (P = .02). No other significant differences were observed for the other variables. The results of this study suggest that the tibia accommodated the increased shock to maintain head stability.
Hayley Perelman, Joanna Buscemi, Elizabeth Dougherty and Alissa Haedt-Matt
Body dissatisfaction is associated with marked distress and often precipitates disordered eating symptomology. Literature on body dissatisfaction in athletes appears to be mixed, perhaps because athletes vary along several key characteristics related to how they experience their bodies. This study sought to investigate group differences in body dissatisfaction between sex (men vs. women), sport type (lean-promoting vs. non-lean-promoting), and division level (Division I vs. Division III). Collegiate athletes (N = 191) completed a self-report measure of body dissatisfaction, demographics, and sport characteristics. A factorial ANOVA revealed that women reported greater body dissatisfaction compared to men regardless of division level and sport type. There was an interaction between sex and sport type such that men in lean-promoting sports reported greater body dissatisfaction than men in non-lean-promoting sports. Findings suggest that some athletes participating in lean-promoting sports may be at risk of developing significant body dissatisfaction. Research on body dissatisfaction in collegiate athletes can be used to develop clinical interventions that aim to reduce body dissatisfaction and the potential of developing disordered eating and related psychopathology.
Stephen M. Glass, Christopher K. Rhea, Matthew W. Wittstein, Scott E. Ross, John P. Florian and F.J. Haran
Transitioning between different sensory environments is known to affect sensorimotor function and postural control. Water immersion presents a novel environmental stimulus common to many professional and recreational pursuits, but is not well-studied with regard to its sensorimotor effects upon transitioning back to land. The authors investigated the effects of long-duration water immersion on terrestrial postural control outcomes in veteran divers. Eleven healthy men completed a 6-hour thermoneutral pool dive (4.57 m) breathing diver air. Center of pressure was observed before and 15 minutes after the dive under 4 conditions: (1) eyes open/stable surface (Open-Stable); (2) eyes open/foam surface (Open-Foam); (3) eyes closed/stable surface (Closed-Stable); and (4) eyes closed/foam surface (Closed-Foam). Postdive decreases in postural sway were observed in all testing conditions except for Open-Stable. The specific pattern of center of pressure changes in the postdive window is consistent with (1) a stiffening/overregulation of the ankle strategy during Open-Foam, Closed-Stable, and Closed-Foam or (2) acute upweighting of vestibular input along with downweighting of somatosensory, proprioceptive, and visual inputs. Thus, our findings suggest that postimmersion decreases in postural sway may have been driven by changes in weighting of sensory inputs and associated changes in balance strategy following adaptation to the aquatic environment.