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Age related changes in balance and gait

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Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding

Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding of the effects of aging on postural control system. Static and dynamic balance were evaluated in a total of 21 young (21-35 years) and 22 elderly (50-75 years) healthy subjects while they performed three different tasks: quiet standing, dynamic weight shifts, and over ground walking. During the quiet standing task, the subjects stood with their eyes open and eyes closed. When performing dynamic weight shifts task, subjects shifted their Center of Pressure (CoP) from the center target to outward targets and vice versa while following real-time feedback of their CoP. For over ground walking tasks, subjects performed Timed Up and Go test, tandem walking, and regular walking at their self-selected speed. Various quantitative balance and gait measures were obtained to evaluate the above respective balance and walking tasks. Total excursion, sway area, and mean frequency of CoP during quiet standing were found to be the most reliable and showed significant increase with age and absence of visual input. During dynamic shifts, elderly subjects exhibited higher initiation time, initiation path length, movement time, movement path length, and inaccuracy indicating deterioration in performance. Furthermore, the elderly walked with a shorter stride length, increased stride variability, with a greater turn and turn-to-sit duration. Significant correlations were also observed between measures derived from the different balance and gait tasks. Thus, it can be concluded that aging deteriorates the postural control system affecting static and dynamic balance and some of the alterations in CoP and gait measures may be considered as protective mechanisms to prevent loss of balance.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Geometric approaches for modeling movement quality: applications in motor control and therapy

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There has been tremendous technological advancement in the past two decades. Faster computers and improved sensing devices have broadened the research scope in computer vision. With these developments, the task

There has been tremendous technological advancement in the past two decades. Faster computers and improved sensing devices have broadened the research scope in computer vision. With these developments, the task of assessing the quality of human actions, is considered an important problem that needs to be tackled. Movement quality assessment finds wide range of application in motor control, health-care, rehabilitation and physical therapy. Home-based interactive physical therapy requires the ability to monitor, inform and assess the quality of everyday movements. Obtaining labeled data from trained therapists/experts is the main limitation, since it is both expensive and time consuming.

Motivated by recent studies in motor control and therapy, in this thesis an existing computational framework is used to assess balance impairment and disease severity in people suffering from Parkinson's disease. The framework uses high-dimensional shape descriptors of the reconstructed phase space, of the subjects' center of pressure (CoP) tracings while performing dynamical postural shifts. The performance of the framework is evaluated using a dataset collected from 43 healthy and 17 Parkinson's disease impaired subjects, and outperforms other methods, such as dynamical shift indices and use of chaotic invariants, in assessment of balance impairment.

In this thesis, an unsupervised method is also proposed that measures movement quality assessment of simple actions like sit-to-stand and dynamic posture shifts by modeling the deviation of a given movement from an ideal movement path in the configuration space, i.e. the quality of movement is directly related to similarity to the ideal trajectory, between the start and end pose. The S^1xS^1 configuration space was used to model the interaction of two joint angles in sit-to-stand actions, and the R^2 space was used to model the subject's CoP while performing dynamic posture shifts for application in movement quality estimation.

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Date Created
  • 2016