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Does the practice with the anchors improve balance control during locomotion in older adults?

Grant number: 19/16277-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2020
Effective date (End): July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Physical Education
Principal Investigator:Renato de Moraes
Grantee:Geovana Milani
Host Institution: Escola de Educação Física e Esporte de Ribeirão Preto (EEFERP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


The increased risk of falls in older adults is associated with balance deficits, especially during walking. The supply of haptic information through the anchors is a very promising tool to improve dynamic balance control in older adults, but the benefits of practicing with the anchors while walking need to be evaluated. This study will aim to assess the effect of practice with the anchors in the control of the dynamic balance in older adults while performing walking on a balance beam. Thirty older adults will be invited to participate in this study, divided into two groups: 0% (G0) and 50% (G50). They will walk on a balance beam in all of the three phases of the study: pre-practice, practice, and post-practice. In the pre-practice phase, they will perform 5 trials without the anchors. The practice phase will take three days, and each day, the participants will complete 30 trials. The G0 will complete the entire practice phase without the anchors. The G50 will perform the practice phase with the anchors in 50% of the trials. Fifteen minutes after the end of the third day of practice, participants will perform the immediate post-practice phase (a block of 5 trials without the use of anchors for both groups). The delayed post-practice phase will be completed on the fourth day of the experiment (two blocks of 5 trials without the anchors). When using the anchors, participants will hold in each hand a cable with a mass of 125 g attached to the end that is in contact with the ground. They will walk and keep the anchors in touch with the ground to drag them. Thus, changes in traction of the anchors' cables will be detected by the participants, obtaining haptic information about the position of the body relative to the support surface. Gait and trunk spatiotemporal parameters will be evaluated. Statistical tests will be used to compare group performance.

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