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Title: Multidirectional Overground Robotic Training Leads to Improvements in Balance in Older Adults
For the rapidly growing aging demographic worldwide, robotic training methods could be impactful towards improving balance critical for everyday life. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that non-bodyweight supportive (nBWS) overground robotic balance training would lead to improvements in balance performance and balance confidence in older adults. Sixteen healthy older participants (69.7 ± 6.7 years old) were trained while donning a harness from a distinctive NaviGAITor robotic system. A control group of 11 healthy participants (68.7 ± 5.0 years old) underwent the same training but without the robotic system. Training included 6 weeks of standing and walking tasks while modifying: (1) sensory information (i.e., with and without vision (eyes-open/closed), with more and fewer support surface cues (hard or foam surfaces)) and (2) base-of-support (wide, tandem and single-leg standing exercises). Prior to and post-training, balance ability and balance confidence were assessed via the balance error scoring system (BESS) and the Activities specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, respectively. Encouragingly, results showed that balance ability improved (i.e., BESS errors significantly decreased), particularly in the nBWS group, across nearly all test conditions. This result serves as an indication that robotic training has an impact on improving balance for healthy aging individuals.
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Award ID(s):
1700219 1654474
Publication Date:
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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