Comparison of Ankle Strategies for Balance in Persons After Mild Head Injury
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Objective: The purpose of this project was to characterize and compare balance in persons after MHI using an assessment of ankle strategies. Design: This project used an observational cohort study design. Methodology: Thirty male and female participants aged 18 - 40 years of age provided written consent according to university guidelines and were grouped as being with or without a history of MHI over the past 12 months. Computerized protocols of the NeuroCom EquiTest® system included assessments of static and dynamic standing balance during six sensory conditions in the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) and during translational perturbations of the Motor Control Test (MCT). In addition to standard balance scores, a new method proposed by Zhiming et al. (2004) called the “Postural Stability Index” (PSI) was used to process platform data to document ankle stiffness. Data Analysis: Data analysis included standardized Student T-Test statistics (SPSS v.16) at an alpha level of 0.05. Also, a Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient was calculated to identify significant relationships within the data pool. Preliminary Results: Preliminary findings indicate no significant differences according to standard SOT or MCT scores. Results indicate significant differences in ankle stiffness or PSI scores which have been shown to be highly correlated to decreased balance skills in other patient populations. Clinical Relevance: Preliminary results indicate that assessment of ankle strategies used during challenged balance may be a more sensitive indicator of balance skills in patients after MHI. Final results will be presented along with a discussion of possible clinical use in rehabilitation programs.