Vision, Posture and Balance

RESEARCH STUDY

Vision, Posture and Balance Study (Optic Flow) – This study has now been completed

We asked – how good is your balance? Would you like to know your Falls Risk Score?

We asked for older adults to participate in this study looking at how vision influences posture and balance.

Participants were:

  • Aged 60 years and older
  • In fair to good health – good vision when wearing glasses, no neurological disorders
  • Able to stand for 60 seconds without a support

The aims of this study was to determine:

  1. 1. Whether balance, posture and standing body alignment and muscle activity are affected by vision differ between young and older people and between older people at low and high risk of falls
  2. 2. Whether an over-reliance on vision for balance control might increase the risk of falls

The study involved an assessment with a series of interesting tests evaluating your vision, strength, reaction time, sensation, balance and mobility.

All procedures are safe and are routinely used in clinical and research settings.

Study participants received an assessment report on their balance with recommendations for minimising the risk of falling.

The study was completed over a 2 hour session at Neuroscience Research Australia in Randwick, NSW.

 

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Abdominal muscle stimulation to improve bowel function in spinal cord injury

Bowel complications, resulting from impaired bowel function, are common for people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI). As a result, people with a SCI have high rates of bowel related illness, even compared with those with other neurological disorders. This includes high rates of abdominal pain, constipation, faecal incontinence and bloating. These problems lower the quality of life of people with a SCI and place a financial burden on the health system. A treatment that improves bowel function for people with a SCI should reduce illness, improve quality of life and lead to a large cost saving for health care providers. Bowel problems have traditionally been managed with manual and pharmacological interventions, such as digital rectal stimulation, enemas, and suppositories. These solutions are usually only partially effective, highlighting the need for improved interventions. The abdominal muscles are one of the major muscle groups used during defecation. Training the abdominal muscles should improve bowel function by increasing abdominal pressure. During our previous Abdominal FES research with people with a SCI, we observed that Abdominal FES appeared to lead to more consistent and effective bowel motion. However, this evidence remains anecdotal. As such, we are going to undertake a large randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of Abdominal FES to improve the bowel function of people with a SCI. This study will make use of a novel measurement system (SmartPill, Medtronic) that can be swallowed to measure whole gut and colonic transit time. We will also assess whether Abdominal FES can change constipation-related quality of life and the use of laxatives and manual procedures, as well as the frequency of defecation and the time taken. A positive outcome from this study is likely to lead to the rapid clinical translation of this technology for people living with a SCI.
PROJECT