Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Peter S. Lum


Postural instability is one of the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease (PD), currently evaluated using several subjective tools. However, the nature and degree of the resulting balance deficit is not well specified by these tools. Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) provides an objective assessment by isolating and quantifying sensory and motor contributions to balance control. The purpose of this study was to compare balance in individuals with PD to a control group using CDP (NeuroCom Smart Balance Master® system). Testing took place at the Southeast Parkinson's disease Research Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC), an interdisciplinary center of excellence for people with PD within a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The 51 PD patients (mean age = 72.18 ± 6.98 years;) were compared to 55 age-matched controls supplied by the CDP manufacturer. Subjects were assessed with three test scales defined by the Smart Balance Master® system: Sensory Organization Test (SOT), Adaptation Test (ADT), and Limits of Stability Test (LOS). All PD population CDP scores were significantly different (a=0.05) than those of a healthy population, except for the SOT Somatosensory subscale (p=0.28), LOS Directional Control subscale (p=0.08), ADT Toes Up subscale (p=0.16) and ADT Toes Down subscale (p=0.23). The Smart Balance Master® system's LOS Movement Velocity, Endpoint Excursion, Maximum Excursion, and Reaction Time subscores and the SOT Composite, Visual, and Vestibular subscores uniquely describe the varying symptoms of the disease. These disease specific abnormalities may provide insight into focused treatment intervention strategies.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008