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A systematic review of interventions conducted in clinical or community settings to improve dual-task postural control in older adults

Authors Agmon M, Belza B, Nguyen HQ, Logsdon R, Kelly VE

Received 25 September 2013

Accepted for publication 10 December 2013

Published 25 March 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 477—492


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Maayan Agmon,1 Basia Belza,2 Huong Q Nguyen,2,3 Rebecca G Logsdon,2 Valerie E Kelly4

1The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Studies, University of Haifa, Israel; 2School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 3Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente, CA, USA; 4School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Background: Injury due to falls is a major problem among older adults. Decrements in dual-task postural control performance (simultaneously performing two tasks, at least one of which requires postural control) have been associated with an increased risk of falling. Evidence-based interventions that can be used in clinical or community settings to improve dual-task postural control may help to reduce this risk.
Purpose: The aims of this systematic review are: 1) to identify clinical or community-based interventions that improved dual-task postural control among older adults; and 2) to identify the key elements of those interventions.
Data sources: Studies were obtained from a search conducted through October 2013 of the following electronic databases: PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science.
Study selection: Randomized and nonrandomized controlled studies examining the effects of interventions aimed at improving dual-task postural control among community-dwelling older adults were selected.
Data extraction: All studies were evaluated based on methodological quality. Intervention characteristics including study purpose, study design, and sample size were identified, and effects of dual-task interventions on various postural control and cognitive outcomes were noted.
Data synthesis: Twenty-two studies fulfilled the selection criteria and were summarized in this review to identify characteristics of successful interventions.
Limitations: The ability to synthesize data was limited by the heterogeneity in participant characteristics, study designs, and outcome measures.
Conclusion: Dual-task postural control can be modified by specific training. There was little evidence that single-task training transferred to dual-task postural control performance. Further investigation of dual-task training using standardized outcome measurements is needed.

Keywords: physical therapy, balance, walking, motor learning, fall prevention

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