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Nathan W. Saunders, Panagiotis Koutakis, Anne D. Kloos, Deborah A. Kegelmeyer, Jessica D. Dicke and Steven T. Devor

Clinicians are in need of valid and objective measures of postural sway. Accelerometers have been shown to be suitable alternatives to expensive and stationary force plates. We evaluated the test-retest reliability and balance task discrimination capability of a new wireless triaxial accelerometer (YEI 3-Space Sensor). Four testing conditions (eyes open or closed, while on a firm or compliant surface) were used to progressively challenge the static balance of 20 healthy male (n = 8) and female (n = 12) older adults (mean age 81 ± 4.3 y). Subjects completed 2 blocks of three 30-second trials per condition. The accelerometer was positioned on the lower back to acquire mediolateral (M-L) and anterior-posterior (A-P) accelerations. Intraclass correlation coefficients were all good to excellent, with values ranging from .736 to .972 for trial-to-trial and from .760 to .954 for block-to-block. A significant stepwise increase in center of mass acceleration root mean square values was found across the 4 balance conditions (F[1.49, 28.26] = 39.54, P < .001). The new accelerometer exhibited good to excellent trial-to-trial and block-to-block reliability and was sensitive to differences in visual and surface conditions and acceleration axes.