Body sway technology
physics, northeastern university
Last modified: April 25, 2006
Demographic, morbidity, and mortality trends clearly show there is a need for a predictive technology to identify older adults whose intrinsic physical/medical factors place them in a higher risk category of falling. In concert with this technology, specific targeted interventions need to be developed to prevent or mitigate falls in those high-risk individuals. The proposed project will further refine a new non-invasive diagnostic technology termed Sound Wave Assessment (SWA) that has been used to measure postural sway motions during quiet standing. The SWA has a remarkable resolution of .2 mm at 30 Hz, is of moderate cost, easily set up and gives immediate results. The SWA is the ideal instrument for measuring sway and the various underlying causes of sway. For example the role of sight in balance (eyes open eyes closed).
Progress to date
We have developed and refined the sway device and recently collected a large sample of clinical data (128 subjects). This serves as a basis for identifying fallers. The predictive power of this technique remains to be tested but shows great promise. For example the figure bellow shows the separation possibilities between fallers and non-fallers.
*** To view figure 1, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser: http://necsi.org/events/iccs6/abstractimages/31/fig1.gif ***
Fig. 1 caption: Measured fall probability dependence on measured VRMS. This graph shows that the technology on identifying fallers
Study the mechanism of body sway using the model in figure 2 and the implications of each sensory part in body balance.
*** To view figure 2, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser: http://necsi.org/events/iccs6/abstractimages/31/fig2.gif ***
Fig. 2 caption: This figure is the schematic representation of the feedback loop that controls the body balance.