balance exercises under different conditions can help improve postural stability
in post-stroke patients, according to research from Concordia University in
weeks of balance training under altered sensory conditions led to statistically
significant improvements in “Center Of Pressure” amplitude were measured in
eight patients who performed the same exercises under normal sensory conditions.
“Humans rely on three
senses to maintain standing balance: limb sensations, vision and vestibular
information,” said Alain Leroux, PhD, an assistant professor of exercise
science at Concordia and the lead author of the study. “Stroke subjects rely
heavily on their vision to maintain standing balance. We believe that after this
type of (altered sensory) training, patients will be more stable when using all
senses to balance themselves in daily life situations.”
findings were presented in September at the joint conference of the American
College of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Society of
patients exercised for two one-hour sessions per week. Altered sensory
conditions included exercising with the eyes closed or on a soft surface.
soft surface condition is not used to mimic real-life situations but to
challenge standing balance. By doing so we try to decrease the somatosensory
information from the ankles and train the two other senses for balance.”
Leroux said. “We apply the same logic when performing balance exercises
and after the eight weeks of exercise, the researchers measured COP amplitude in
all patients using the Matscan system from Tekscan. COP amplitude was measured
in two directions (anteroposterior and mediolateral) and under four sensory
conditions (eyes open/closed and normal/soft surface).
amplitude did not change significantly in the control group patients. However,
in the experimental group significant changes were noted in the mediolateral
direction with eyes open on a normal surface and in the anteroposterior with
eyes open on a soft surface.
patients in the experimental group also demonstrated less COP amplitude for the
eyes closed, normal surface condition, but that improvement was not
statistically significant, Leroux said.
research of a study originally published in the September 2003 issue of Stroke,
researchers from the University of Florida found that patients who exercised
were more likely to have achieved a higher ambulatory classification (based on a
10-meter walk) by the end of the 12 weeks than those who did not exercise.
categories included “household walkers” (gait speeds less than 0.4 m/sec),
“limited community ambulators” (0.4 m/sec to 0.8 m/sec). And “community
ambulators” (more than 0.8 m/sec). The percentage of those whose improvements
necessitated reclassification was higher in the intervention group than the
control group overall, but most notably for those patients who were categorized
as “household walkers” at baseline.