balance


The ageing foot: how does skin feedback change as we grow old?

Historically, research on skin’s role in postural stability has focused on the sole of the foot, as this area is in contact with the ground as we stand and move. Special receptors from the sole of the foot provide information about contact pressure and slips of the foot (Kennedy & […]


Older people maintain their strength and balance after a busy day

Previous studies have shown that repeatedly working muscles until fatigue results in reduced strength, sensation, walking and balance control in older people (Helbostad et al. 2007, 2010; Kent-Braun, 2009; Pline et al. 2005). However, these extreme protocols are unlikely to accurately reflect an older person’s daily activities and likely miss the […]


Keep an eye on exercise supervision

As we get older, we lose muscle size and strength and become more vulnerable to injury (de Souto Barreto 2009; Fried et al. 2005). Each year, 1 in 3 individuals over 65 has a fall (Yoshida 2007), which often leads to fractures, hospital admissions and mortality. Strength and balance exercise […]


Skin at the back of the ankle contributes to awareness of ankle position 1

The ability to know how our limbs are positioned in space is called proprioception. This ‘sense’ is possible through information gained from individual sensors in the muscles and in the skin. In fact, skin stretch on the back or dorsal surface of the hand has been shown to create illusory […]


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 […]


Interview: Professor Simon Gandevia talks about Ageing

In a recent interview, Simon Gandevia talks about a recently published review article by Stephen Lord, Kim Delbaere and himself which examined how motor impairments become more prevalent with ageing and how careful physiological measurement and appropriate interventions offer a way to maximise health across the life span. PUBLICATION: Lord SR, […]


2015 Highlights from the Motor Impairment Group at NeuRA

Members of the Motor Impairment Research Program conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess whether step training can improve physical and neuropsychological measures associated with falls in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). 50 people with MS participated in the trial in which intervention group participants (n = 28) performed step […]


Does deep brain stimulation improve balance in people with Parkinson’s disease?

Poor balance is common in people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This can significantly impact on quality of life. The ability to generate a step quickly and accurately after a loss of balance is critical to avoid falling. The most effective medical treatment for PD (levodopa) seems to offer no benefit […]


In one ear out the other: balance and vestibular recalibration

We continually receive sensory information about our environment and ourselves. Similar to human interactions, some sources of information are more credible than others. Thus, how does the central nervous system decide what source of information to listen to? What happens if the only available source of information is a distorted […]


Art and science: the benefits of dance in Parkinson’s disease

As a graduate student, I volunteered at my local community centre and the manager assigned me to run one of the weekly exercise classes offered to older people in the community. I found this experience highly rewarding and I was impressed by the enthusiasm of participants. The highlight of each […]