Sensation & falls


How does step training affect stepping performance in untrained directions?

Step training is effective for preventing falls in older people (Okubo et al., 2015). This is likely because the movements performed during training closely mimic those which are necessary to avoid falling in real-world situations. One form of step training involves interactive video game technology. This type of training has […]


Home-based exercise improves balance in people with dementia

Older people with dementia are at increased risk of physical decline and falls, with 60% falling annually. So far, there is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in community-dwelling older people with dementia (Sherrington et al., 2016). Poor balance and depressive symptoms are risk factors for falls in this […]


Calibrating skin maps: How are body metrics represented?

To accurately move there is a need for proprioception, the sense of where our limbs are in space. Although we know much about how proprioceptive signals arise in the periphery, less is known about how these signals are integrated so that they can be understood in the spatial co-ordinates of the […]


How do we maintain reaching accuracy during body movement?

When reaching for an object we must compensate for any body movement that may take the arm off-target.  For example, reaching for a handrail when standing on a bus that suddenly accelerates requires detection and compensation for body movement relative to the handrail.  A key sensory system which can detect body […]


Falls without a cause: Understanding risk factors for unexplained falls in older people

While older people most often fall because of a slip, trip or loss of balance, up to 25% of falls remain unexplained (Anpalahan & Gibson, 2012; Davies & Kenny, 1996; Lord et al., 1993). People who have had unexplained falls report having fallen because of a blackout, dizziness, feeling faint or “having […]


Proprioception: The body’s representation of the hand

Proprioception, our ‘sixth sense’, underlies our innate ability to localise our body parts in space and to know the forces, angles and movements at our joints (Proske & Gandevia, 2012). This ‘sense’ allows us to interact with our environment. For example, reaching for a cup of water requires knowledge of the exact spatial […]


Interview: Professor Stephen Lord talks about the potential of Perturbation Training 2

Making people trip and slip under controlled conditions in the lab (perturbation training) promises to be a quick method to train people how to avoid falls in the real world. Professor Stephen Lord and his team at NeuRA are investigating the effectiveness of perturbation training for preventing falls in the […]


Physiological profile of “fallers” with multiple sclerosis

Falls are common among people with multiple sclerosis (MS).  Many clinical tests such as the Berg Balance Scale and the Timed Up and Go or laboratory-based assessments such as posturography involving moving force-plates, have been used to estimate fall risks in MS.  But, these tests are limited to measures of functional balance, […]


Can we stop older people from falling if we teach them how to step? 2

Balance exercise programs are an effective way to prevent falls in older people. Exercises are mostly focused on controlling the center of mass while reducing the base of support, for example by standing on one leg. Balance control however, also requires adaptive responses that would require a person to either […]