Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
   Pages 945 — 958

Abstract — Sensor-based balance training with motion feedback in people with mild cognitive impairment

Michael Schwenk, PhD;1–3 Marwan Sabbagh, MD;4 Ivy Lin, MPH;1 Pharah Morgan, MPH;1 Gurtej S. ??Grewal, PhD;1 Jane Mohler, PhD;1–2 David W. Coon, PhD;5 Bijan Najafi, PhD1,2,6*

1Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance-Arizona (iCAMP-A), Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 2Arizona Center on Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 3Network Aging Research, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany; 4Cleo Roberts Memory and Movement Disorders Center, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Sun City, AZ; 5College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ; 6Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance (iCAMP), Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Abstract — Some individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) experience not only cognitive deficits but also a decline in motor function, including postural balance. This pilot study sought to estimate the feasibility, user experience, and effects of a novel sensor-based balance training program. Patients with amnestic MCI (mean age 78.2 yr) were randomized to an intervention group (IG, n = 12) or control group (CG, n = 10). The IG underwent balance training (4 wk, twice a week) that included weight shifting and virtual obstacle crossing. Real-time visual/audio lower-limb motion feedback was provided from wearable sensors. The CG received no training. User experience was measured by a questionnaire. Postintervention effects on balance (center of mass sway during standing with eyes open [EO] and eyes closed), gait (speed, variability), cognition, and fear of falling were measured. Eleven participants (92%) completed the training and expressed fun, safety, and helpfulness of sensor feedback. Sway (EO, p = 0.04) and fear of falling (p = 0.02) were reduced in the IG compared to the CG. Changes in other measures were nonsignificant. Results suggest that the sensor-based training paradigm is well accepted in the target population and beneficial for improving postural control. Future studies should evaluate the added value of the sensor-based training compared to traditional training.

Clinical Trial Registration:; "Virtual reality based balance training in people with mild cognitive impairment": NCT02214342;

Key words: balance, biofeedback, cognitive impairment, dementia, exercise, exergame, fall risk, fall prevention, interactive, older adults, postural control, wearable sensor.

View HTML ?? View PDF ?? Contents Vol. 53, No. 6
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Schwenk M, Sabbagh M, Lin I, Morgan P, Grewal GS, Mohler J, Coon DW, Najafi B. Sensor-based balance training with motion feedback in people with mild cognitive impairment. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(6):945–58.
ORCID: Michael Schwenk, PhD: 0000-0003-2002-2656; Bijan Najafi, PhD: 0000-0002-0320-8101

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