Research: Assessing whether you are likely to Fall


BACKGROUND: Quantitative posturography has been reported as a reliable tool to measure balance in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, data on its diagnostic accuracy in predicting the occurrence of falls are lacking.

To determine sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and accuracy
of posturography in detecting falls in MS subjects over a 3-month
follow-up period.

METHODS: One hundred consecutive
patients with MS were tested by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and by
static posturography on a monoaxial platform. Participants recorded the
occurrence of accidental falls for the next 3 months. Abnormal cutoff
values for static standing balance measures were set at 2 standard
deviations above the mean values obtained from 50 healthy controls (HC).
The diagnostic accuracy of the BBS and static posturography was
analyzed with respect to the prospectively collected data on the
occurrence of falls.

RESULTS: Posturometric measures in
participants with MS were significantly worse than in HC (all P values
<.0001); however, only the center of pressure (COP) path with open
eyes condition had substantial test-retest reliability. Static
posturography was more sensitive (88% vs 37%) and accurate (75% vs 63%),
but slightly less specific (67% vs 81%), than the BBS in predicting
accidental falls. A logistic regression analysis revealed that the worse
the COP path, the greater the risk for accidental falls (odds ratio =
1.08; P < .0001), even after adjusting for sex, age, disease
duration, body mass index, MS subtype, Expanded Disability Status Scale,
and BBS score.

CONCLUSION: The COP path measurement in
static position is a sensitive and accurate tool to identify people
with MS who are at risk of accidental falls.


study examines the ability of a test based on monitoring posture as a
means to assess balance problems. There can be balance problems in MS.
The more unstable in relation to balance, the more likely it is that you
will have a fall.

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