What is the purpose of this research?
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The study aims to investigate how Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) affect elderly patients’ gait and balance − the factors that contribute to falls-associated morbidity. Velayutham, Chandra, Bharath, and Shankar (2017) suggest that differences in these parameters may be used in the differential diagnosis of the two conditions.
What is the research question (or questions)? This may be implicit or explicit.
How does AD/FTD affect patients’ dynamic balance, gait, and limits of stability during the accomplishment of a single task compared to the control group? How does AD/FTD affect patients’ dynamic balance, gait, and limits of stability during the accomplishment of a dual-task compared to the control group? What are the differences in the effects of AD and FTD on patients’ equilibrium and motor function?
Give a complete description of the research design of this study.
It is a non-randomized case-control study with three independent samples. Velayutham et al. (2017) collected the data from three population groups: with AD, with FTD, and the Control group without those conditions. The study design allowed identifying the relations between outcomes (equilibrium and motor function) and particular variables (AD, FTD, etc.)
What is the population (sample) for this study?
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Each of the sample groups comprised 8 males of 50-70 years.
Was the sampling approach adequate for the research design that was selected and explain why?
Velayutham et al. (2017) used a convenience sampling technique − all of the study participants were recruited from the same clinical setting, and the control group was comprised of the volunteers living in the same community. Although any person who met the study criteria could be chosen for this research project, it is valid to say that the sample lacks randomization. Additionally, the sample size is too small, which may affect the quality of the obtained evidence.
Describe the data collection procedure.
Three trials were conducted to measure dynamic balance (single task) and eight tests to identify limits of stability in each direction. The tasks were repeated to measure the same parameters in the dual-task category. The balance in study participants was measured by the Biodex Balance Master tool, using dynamic posturography, in both single and dual tasks, while gait was measured by using Biodex Gait Trainer.
How were the data analyzed after collection?
The researchers analyzed the collected data by using statistical tools, i.e., ANOVA, and compared them among samples.
Discuss the limitations found in the study.
The small sample size is the major limitation of the study as it does not allow generalizing the findings to the general population.
Discuss the authors’ conclusions. Do you feel these conclusions are based on the data that they collected?
Velayutham et al. (2017) conclude that differences in balance and gait impairments associated with AD and FTD can be used as differentiation markers during early diagnosis. Their assumptions are consistent with the analysis data and numbers. For instance, it is observed that while in AD, mediolateral balance is mainly affected, in FTD, all balance parameters are affected to a similar extent.
How does this advance knowledge in the field?
The study provides unique evidence that may help healthcare practitioners diagnose different types of cortical dementias. Thus, it may facilitate efforts to improve patients’ quality of life. However, further research using larger, randomized samples is required.
Velayutham, S. G., Chandra, S. R., Bharath, S., & Shankar, R. G. (2017). Quantitative balance and gait measurement in patients with frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer diseases: A pilot study. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 39(2), 176-182. Web.