Purpose: This study explored the usefulness of measures commonly employed in the examination of persons with balance impairment to discriminate between performances of young and older adults and older adults with and without neurological disease.
Methods: Eighteen young adults, 22 healthy older adults, 12 individuals with Parkinson disease, and 20 older adults with peripheral neuropathy were recruited from the community.Performances on the following measures were compared: Mini Mental State Exam, grip strength, timed chair rise, semitandem and tandem stance, Timed Up and Go (TUG), and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). Survival analysis was used to analyze semitandem and tandem stance. Grip strength and other tests were analyzed using analysis of variance. Tukey multiple comparison procedure was employed to assess differences in performance among groups.
Results: Significant differences in performance were found for all measures. Grip and timed chair rise discriminated young and older adult groups. Timed chair rise, tandem stance, TUG, and BBS detected differences between healthy individuals and those with disease. Semitandem stance and BBS discriminated between individuals with disease conditions.
Conclusions: When examining individuals with balance difficulty, combinations of measures are needed to discriminate between clinically distinct groups.