Vibrotactile feedback (VTF) has been shown to improve balance performance in healthy people and people with vestibular disorders in a single-task experimental condition. However, typical balance activities occur in a multi-task environment. Dual-task performance can degrade with age and in people with vestibular disorders. It is unclear if the ability to use VTF might be affected by dual-task conditions in different age groups and people with vestibular disorders. The purposes of this dissertation are to investigate in healthy young and older adults, and people with vestibular disorders: 1) balance performance in a dual-task paradigm under various sensory conditions while using VTF, 2) reaction time during dual-task performance under different sensory conditions while using VTF, and 3) the effect of testing duration and visit on VTF use.
Three study visits were included in this dissertation study: one screening visit and two experimental visits. Twenty younger and twenty older subjects were recruited in the first study to determine if VTF was affected by age. Seven people with unilateral vestibular hypofunction (UVH) and seven age-matched controls were recruited in the second study to investigate the effect of vestibular dysfunction.
The results showed that young and older adults use VTF differently, depending on the underlying sensory integration balance task. Older adults increased postural sway during fixed platform conditions, but both young and older adults decreased postural sway during swayreferenced platform conditions. Reaction times on the secondary cognitive tasks increased more while using the VTF in older adults compared with young adults. This finding suggested that using VTF requires greater attention in older adults. The trial duration and visit also affected postural sway performance while VTF was applied. Similar postural sway results were found when comparing people with UVH and age-matched controls. However, no group difference was found between people with UVH and age-matched controls in the magnitude of postural sway, which suggested that people with UVH were able to use VTF under dual-task conditions similar to normal adults. Our data also indicated that people with UVH require more attentional resources to perform secondary cognitive tasks while using VTF.
|Advisor:||Whitney, Susan L.|
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical therapy, Aging, Biomedical engineering|
|Keywords:||Aging, Dual-task, Postural sway, Reaction time, Vestibular disorders, Vibriotactile feedback|
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