The purpose of the research was to explore gait and balance patterns in patients afflicted with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to prevent falls (Velayutham, Chandra, Bharath, & Shankar, 2017). The implicit research question can be summarized as Whether the patterns of gait and balance in patients with FTD and AD can serve as biomarkers for differentiating the two conditions and preventing falls?
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The study measured and compared the balance and gait characteristics of patients with possible FTD and AD to those of a control group. The participants of the study were “diagnosed with FTD by revised consensus criteria” and “diagnosed by ADs association criteria” (Velayutham et al., 2017, p. 177).
The population sample for the study consisted of 24 adult males aged from 50 to 70 years (Velayutham et al., 2017). It can be argued that the population sample size did not satisfy the criteria for a basic minimum required size of the sample for the results of the study to gain statistical importance. It has to do with the fact that the measurements were collected for only eight participants belonging to each of three groups, which is not sufficient for high-quality statistical inferences.
The data for the research was collected with the help of Biodex Balance Master and Biodex Gait Trainer, which are instruments based on dynamic posturography (Velayutham et al., 2017). The tools measure the angle of foot deviations of subjects standing on dynamic platforms.
The data was analyzed with the help of descriptive analysis. To test the normality of the measurements, the Shapiro-Wilkins test was used. The obvious limitation of the study is the inadequacy of the sample size.
The authors conclude that “identification of the differential patterns of involvement in subclinical stage might help to differentiate normal aging and the different types of cortical dementias” (Velayutham et al., 2017, p. 180). Given that cortical structures are connected to other functional circuits, it stands to reason to assume that normal aging and the progression of serious disabilities are marked by differences in balance and gait parameters. The researchers based their conclusion on the collected data, which indicates that the impairments of frontal-subcortical circuits can be detected with the help of gait and balance analysis.
The knowledge advances the field by providing a basis for further research on postural stability training, which can help to reduce the incidence of falls.
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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.