Category Archives: Fall Prevention

Res Gerontol Nurs, 2017; 10(1): 17-24, PMID: 28112354 external link

Muscle Mechanography: A Novel Method to Measure Muscle Function in Older Adults.

Taani MH, Kovach CR, Buehring B

Abstract

Muscle function decline is a commonly observed process that occurs with aging. Low muscle function, an essential component of sarcopenia, is associated with negative outcomes, including falls, fractures, and dependency. Although many tools have been developed and are used to assess muscle function in older adults, most have important limitations.

Muscle mechanography is a novel method that can quantitatively assess muscle function by performing movements such as heel raises, chair rises, or jumps on a ground reaction force plate. It can also assess balance by measuring sway of the center of pressure.

Muscle mechanography promises to have advantages over currently used tools, appears to have better reproducibility, and can assess a broader range of physical function-from master athletes to frail individuals.

Older adults can safely perform muscle mechanography measurements. Further research is needed to determine whether muscle mechanography can predict outcomes such as falls, fractures, and mortality. [Res Gerontol Nurs. 2017; 10(1):17-24.].

Reduces Risk of Falls for Older Adults

J Biomech. 2015 Sep 18;48(12):3206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.06.029. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Controlled whole-body vibration training reduces risk of falls among community-dwelling older adults.

Yang F1, King GA2, Dillon L3, Su X4.

Abstract

Purpose:  The primary purpose of this study was to systematically examine the effects of an 8-week controlled whole-body vibration training on reducing the risk of falls among community-dwelling adults.

Methods:  Eighteen healthy elderlies received vibration training which was delivered on a side alternating vibration platform in an intermittent way: five repetitions of 1 min vibration followed by a 1 min rest. The vibration frequency and amplitude were 20 Hz and 3.0mm respectively. The same training was repeated 3 times a week, and the entire training lasted for 8 weeks for a total of 24 training sessions. Immediately prior to (or pre-training) and following (or post-training) the 8-week training course, all participants’ risk of falls were evaluated in terms of body balance, functional mobility, muscle strength and power, bone density, range of motion at lower limb joints, foot cutaneous sensation level, and fear of falling.

Results:  Our results revealed that the training was able to improve all fall risk factors examined with moderate to large effect sizes ranging between 0.55 and 1.26. The important findings of this study were that an 8-week vibration training could significantly increase the range of motion of ankle joints on the sagittal plane (6.4° at pre-training evaluation vs. 9.6° at post-training evaluation for dorsiflexion and 45.8° vs. 51.9° for plantar-flexion, p<0.05 for both); reduce the sensation threshold of the foot plantar surface (p<0.05); and lower the fear of falling (12.2 vs. 10.8, p<0.05).

Conclusion:  These findings could provide guidance to design optimal whole-body vibration training paradigm for fall prevention among older adults.

PMID: 26189095

Keywords: Cutaneous sensation; Fall prevention; Fear of falling; Hip fracture; Physical medicine; Range of motion; Side-alternating vibration

Whole-body Vibration Research Reduces Falls, Helps MS Symptoms

UTEP News Service – Originally published April 3, 2015 – By Laura L. Acosta

The first time 68-year-old Carmen Sandoval climbed on the whole-body vibration machine in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Stanley E. Fulton Biomechanics and Motor Behavior Laboratory, she wasn’t sure how standing on the machine while it oscillated for five minutes was going to help improve her physical fitness.

Two months later, Sandoval’s muscle strength and bone density have increased, and she feels lighter on her feet. That has helped her chase more fly balls while playing softball with Senior Moments, an El Paso women’s slow-pitch softball team.

As part of the whole-body vibration study, Carmen Sandoval walks on a special treadmill, which simulates slipping by suddenly changing the moving direction of the belt. Participants are strapped into a harness to prevent injury. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

As part of the whole-body vibration study, Carmen Sandoval walks on a special treadmill, which simulates slipping by suddenly changing the moving direction of the belt. Participants are strapped into a harness to prevent injury. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

“It gives me more blood circulation in my legs,” Sandoval said. “I feel more energized and I don’t feel heavy on my legs.”

Sandoval is taking part in one of two studies by Feng Yang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at UTEP, who is researching the impact of whole-body vibration training on adults 65 years and older and on people with multiple sclerosis, or MS.

In whole-body vibration therapy, a person stands on a vibration platform. As the machine vibrates, the transmission of mechanical vibrations and oscillations to the human body forces all muscles to contract and relax tens of times each second, and leads to physiological and neuromuscular changes that can reduce falls among individuals at greater fall risk.

In November, Yang received a $78,148 grant from The Retirement Research Foundation to investigate if whole-body vibration training can prevent real-life falls in Hispanic older adults. His co-principal investigators are Loretta Dillon, DPT, clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Xiaogang Su, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Yang, along with Dillon and Su,  also were awarded a separate $43,297 pilot grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to use the technique to study its effect on preventing falls in individuals with MS.

“Whole-body vibration is a relatively novel training approach which we can use to reduce the risk of falls for older adults or for people with movement disorders,” explained Yang, the lab’s director since 2013. “This vibration can increase muscle strength and improve the body balance and it can also improve the function in mobility, sensation, bone density and all those factors that are closely related to falls.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, and the consequences of falls are very costly.

For his study, Yang developed an eight-week training program for 100 adults ages 65 years and older to investigate whether or not whole-body vibration training can reduce their risk of falling and if the training is still effective three months after they finish the program. Since June 2014, about 50 older adults have participated in the 18-month study.

Participants use the whole-body vibration machine for five minutes, three times a week for eight weeks.

To test if the training has improved their resistance to falls, participants walk on a special treadmill, which simulates a slipping sensation by suddenly changing the moving direction of the belt. Participants are strapped into a harness to prevent injury.

Thirty reflective markers are attached to their skin on different parts of the body, which allow their movements to be recorded using the lab’s eight-camera high-speed motion capture system. The captured motion data will be utilized to analyze the improvement in fall resistance skills resulting from the vibration training.

The goal is to see how a person regains balance after a slip without falling to the ground.

Carmen Sandoval stands on the whole body vibration machine in UTEP’s Biomechanics and Motor Behavior Laboratory. Feng Yang, kinesiology assistant professor, is studying the effects of whole-body vibration on adults 65 years and older and people with multiple sclerosis. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

Carmen Sandoval stands on the whole body vibration machine in UTEP’s Biomechanics and Motor Behavior Laboratory. Feng Yang, kinesiology assistant professor, is studying the effects of whole-body vibration on adults 65 years and older and people with multiple sclerosis. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

“It (feels) like when we really stumble because we don’t know when we’re going to stumble,” Sandoval said after the treadmill stopped suddenly and she was jolted backward before regaining her composure.

Yang also evaluates the participants’ progress by measuring their muscle strength, bone density, sensation, range of motion, fear of falling, and functional mobility. All participants’ real-life fall incidences also are monitored.

Yang said the results of the study so far have been encouraging. Besides the significant improvements in all risk factors of falls among the participants, their slip-related falls on the treadmill and the fall incidences in everyday living have been reduced by about 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

He is currently recruiting 40 participants for his multiple sclerosis study. The National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the U.S. have MS. This project has particular significance for the El Paso region, which has been identified as a nationally-recognized cluster of MS by the society.

“We also want to prevent falls for patients with MS because their fall risk is even higher,” Yang said. “Their muscles are weak, their balance and sensation are impaired and MS also affects their mobility. All of those factors contribute to falls.”

Through whole-body vibration training, Yang hopes to develop a training paradigm that involves the least amount of physical activity for individuals with MS to reduce their risk of falls.

Yang is looking for participants with mild to moderate MS who have fallen at least once in the past six months for his study. Participants will take part in whole-body vibration training for five minutes a day, three days a week for four weeks.

Before the training begins, participants will be assessed to determine how many times they have fallen in the last six months. Their fall risk factors, including body balance, functional mobility, muscle strength, fear of falling and sensorimotor skills, also will be evaluated before and after the training to document any improvement.

Yang and his collaborators also are planning to apply vibration therapy to individuals with other movement dysfunctions, such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease. The long-term goal of their research is to develop cost-efficient yet effective community-based fall prevention training programs and to reduce the costs to individuals and the health care system resulting from falls among the elderly and populations with movement impairments.

Helping Yang achieve that goal are 10 research assistants from the undergraduate and graduate kinesiology programs at UTEP. They include: Chelsea Villa, Joshua Padilla, Westin Humble, Amy Lucero, Joe Anthony Rodriguez, Carlos Lopez, Maria Sanchez, JaeEun Kim, Jose Munoz and Edson Estrada.

In January 2014, Villa began working with Yang in the biomechanics lab as an undergraduate research assistant. She graduated from UTEP in December 2014 and plans to start the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May.

From gathering medical histories, testing the participants and analyzing data, Villa said her experience working with Yang will help prepare her to become a better physical therapist.

“I know how important clinical-based research is when applied to the real world,” Villa said. “That’s the whole reason why research is done: to see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes we think something does work and then we do the research and it turns out that it doesn’t. I know now what information is important to analyze and what information is not.”

To participate in either study, contact Yang at 915-747-8228 or 915-747-6010 or by email at fyang@utep.edu.

Aging, Balance & Fall Prevention

Side-alternating vibration exercise is safe and well tolerated in seniors to counteract the loss of balance, strength and power.   Preventing this age-associated side effect, or keeping its impact as low as possible is an effective means of training for fall-prevention.  Galileo-Training is a promising tool for the aging population because it’s easy to do for a population that may otherwise have a difficult time with traditional strength training.  Additionally, because it takes a short period of time compliance is enhanced preventing seniors from the vicious circle of pain generation caused by immobilization.

Senior Training

Senior Training

Condition Effects:

  • Maintain muscle mass and performance
  • Improvement in timed up and go test
  • Improved balance and fall prevention
  • Higher gait speed and walking distance
  • The avoidance of chronic back pain
  • Relaxation of muscle cramping

Studies – Fall Prevention

Poster:

  • Controlled Whole Body Vibration to Decrease Fall Risk and Improve Health Related Quality of Life in Elderly Patients. Fast and easy exercises, 3 times a week during 6 weeks, using a controlled whole body vibrations platform, could improve the quality of life, the walk, the balance and the motor capacity in elderly patients. The treatment group underwent 6 weeks of CWBV (4 – one minute series, 3 – times a week) on a vibrating platform (10 Hz in the first and third series and 27 Hz in the second and fourth ones). (O. Buyere, et al Poster Board #114, Presentation #1271 at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando, FL 2003).

Study Summaries:

  • WBV is a safe modality to increase physiological responses of reflex and muscle activity, and muscle function, for athletes, the aged, and compromised health. (Int J Sports Med. 2011
  • WBV training group had a significant lower risk of falls in females over 65 compared to a control group. Both exercise and WBV group had a significant increase in trunk strength and leg strength compared to the control group. (Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2010)
  • Improved elements of fall risk and “home related quality of life of nursing home” elderly patients. (Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2005)
  • High-frequency vibration training increases muscle power in postmenopausal women. Over 6 months, muscle power improved by about 5% in women who received the intervention, and it remained unchanged in controls (P=.004) Thus, reflex muscular contractions induced by vibration training improve muscle power in postmenopausal women.(Arch Phys Med Rehabil., 2003)

Improve Balance Control & Muscle Endurance

PLoS One, 2014; 9 (2): e89905

Whole body vibration training – improving balance control and muscle endurance

Ritzmann R, Kramer A, Bernhardt S, Golhofer A

Source: Institute of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

Objective: Exercise combined with whole body vibration (WBV) is becoming increasingly popular, although additional effects of WBV in comparison to conventional exercises are still discussed controversially in literature. Heterogeneous findings are attributed to large differences in the training designs between WBV and “control” groups in regard to training volume, load and type.

Study overview: In order to separate the additional effects of WBV from the overall adaptations due to the intervention, in this study, a four-week WBV training setup was compared to a matched intervention program with identical training parameters in both training settings except for the exposure to WBV. In a repeated-measures matched-subject design, 38 participants were assigned to either the WBV group (VIB) or the equivalent training group (CON). Training duration, number of sets, rest periods and task-specific instructions were matched between the groups.

Main outcome measure: Balance, jump height and local static muscle endurance were assessed before and after the training period.

Results:  The statistical analysis revealed significant interaction effects of group x time for balance and local static muscle endurance (p<0.05). Hence, WBV caused an additional effect on balance control (pre vs. post VIB +13%, p<0.05 and CON +6%, p = 0.33) and local static muscle endurance (pre vs. post VIB +36%, p<0.05 and CON +11%, p = 0.49). The effect on jump height remained insignificant (pre vs. post VIB +3%, p = 0.25 and CON +/-0%, p = 0.82).

Summary: This study provides evidence for the additional effects of WBV above conventional exercise alone. As far as balance and muscle endurance of the lower leg are concerned, a training program that includes WBV can provide supplementary benefits in young and well-trained adults compared to an equivalent program that does not include WBV.

PMID: 24587114

WBV, Strength & Balance Improvements

Clin Rehabil. 2012 Oct;26(10):915-23. doi: 10.1177/0269215511435688. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Whole-body vibration in addition to strength and balance exercise for falls-related functional mobility of frail older adults: a single-blind randomized controlled trial.

Pollock RD, Martin FC, Newham DJ.

Source: Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences, King’s College London, UK. ross.pollock@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:  To investigate the effects of whole-body vibration in addition to an exercise programme on functional mobility and related outcomes for frail older fallers.

DESIGN:  Single-blind randomized parallel group trial. Setting: UK; National Health Service assessment and rehabilitation facility for older people.

PARTICIPANTS:  Frail older fallers: 38 (80 ± 8.6 years) performed the exercise with whole-body vibration (vibration group), and 39 (82 ± 8.1 years) without (exercise group).

INTERVENTION:  Sixty minutes supervised exercise class three times weekly for eight weeks ± whole-body vibration (up to 5 × 1 minute, 15-30 Hz and 2-8 mm peak-to-peak).

MEASUREMENTS:  Timed Up and Go, 6-m walk, static balance, fear of falling (FES-I) and self-reported health status (SF-12 version 2) were assessed at baseline, four weeks (mobility measures only), eight weeks and six months.

RESULTS:  Timed Up and Go and 6-m walk improved in both groups at eight weeks (P < 0.01), but significantly more in the vibration group (timed up and go: 38 vs. 20%, P < 0.05); 6-m walk: (36 vs. 18.1%, P < 0.05, respectively). Balance, fear of falling and physical component of the self-reported health status improved similarly in both groups (P < 0.05). At follow-up, no significant differences from baseline remained for any measure. The mean total time experienced was 37% of maximal target.

CONCLUSION:  The addition of whole-body vibration to strength and balance exercise resulted in greater improvements in functional mobility than exercise alone, despite achieving lower than anticipated exposure. Gains from neither intervention were sustained at six months.

PMID: 22324058

Seniors Walking Performance Improves

Gait Posture. 2011 Mar;33(3):466-72. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.12.027. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Changes in balance, functional performance and fall risk following whole body vibration training and vitamin D supplementation in institutionalized elderly women. A 6 month randomized controlled trial.

Bogaerts A, Delecluse C, Boonen S, Claessens AL, Milisen K, Verschueren SM.

Source:  Division of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract:

Purpose: Falls in the elderly constitute a growing public health problem. This randomized controlled trial investigated the potential benefit of 6 months of whole body vibration (WBV) training and/or vitamin D supplementation on balance, functionality and estimated fall risk in institutionalized elderly women.

Method:  A total of 113 women (mean age: 79.6) were randomly assigned to either a WBV or a no-training group, receiving either a conventional dose (880 IU/d) or a high dose (1600 IU/d) of vitamin D3. The WBV group performed exercises on a vibration platform 3×/week. Balance was evaluated by computerized posturography. Functionality was assessed by 10 m walk test, Timed up and Go (TUG) performance and endurance capacity (Shuttle Walk). Fall risk was determined with the Physiological Profile Assessment.

Results:  Performance on the 10 m walk test and on TUG improved over time in all groups. For none of the parameters, high-dose vitamin D resulted in a better performance than conventional dosing. The improvements in the WBV group in endurance capacity, walking at preferred speed, and TUG were significantly larger than the changes with supplementation alone. No additional benefit of WBV training could be detected on fall risk and postural control, although sway velocity and maximal isometric knee extension strength improved only in the WBV group.

Conclusion:  This trial showed that a high-dose vitamin D supplementation is not more efficient than conventional dosing in improving functionality in institutionalized elderly. WBV training on top of vitamin D supplementation provided an added benefit with regard to walking, TUG performance, and endurance capacity

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21256028

Improving Balance

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Jul;88(7):852-7.

High-frequency whole-body vibration improves balancing ability in elderly women.

Cheung WH, Mok HW, Qin L, Sze PC, Lee KM, Leung KS.
Source:  Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of high-frequency whole-body vibration (WBV) on balancing ability in elderly women.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. Subjects were randomized to either the WBV intervention or the no-treatment control group.

SETTING:  Community-living elderly women.

PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-nine elderly women aged 60 or above without habitual exercise.

INTERVENTION: Side alternating WBV at 20Hz with 3 minutes a day and 3 days a week for 3 months in the WBV intervention group. Those in control group remained sedentary with normal daily life for the whole study period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Limits of stability in terms of reaction time, movement velocity, directional control, endpoint excursion, maximum excursion, and the functional reach test were performed at baseline and endpoint.

RESULTS: Significant enhancement of stability was detected in movement velocity (P<.01), maximum point excursion (P<.01), in directional control (P<.05).

CONCLUSIONS: WBV was effective in improving the balancing ability in elderly women. This also provides evidence to support our user-friendly WBV treatment protocol of 3 minutes a day for the elderly to maintain their balancing ability and reduce risks of fall.

PMID: 17601464

Fall Risk Prevention

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Feb;86(2):303-7.

Controlled whole body vibration to decrease fall risk and improve health-related quality of life of nursing home residents.

Bruyere O, Wuidart MA, Di Palma E, Gourlay M, Ethgen O, Richy F, Reginster JY.

Source: WHO Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspects of Osteoarticular Disorders, Liège, Belgium. olivier.bruyere@ulg.ac.be

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:  To investigate the effects of whole body vibration in the elderly.

DESIGN:  Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING:  Nursing home.

PARTICIPANTS:  Forty-two elderly volunteers.

INTERVENTIONS:  Six-week vibration intervention plus physical therapy (PT) (n=22) or PT alone (n=20).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:  We assessed gait and body balance using the Tinetti test (maximum scores of 12 for gait, 16 for body balance, 28 for global score), motor capacity using the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).

RESULTS:  After 6 weeks, the vibration intervention group improved by a mean +/- standard deviation of 2.4+/-2.3 points on the gait score compared with no score change in the control group ( P <.001). The intervention group improved by 3.5+/-2.1 points on the body balance score compared with a decrease of 0.3+/-1.2 points in the control group ( P <.001). TUG test time decreased by 11.0+/-8.6 seconds in the treated group compared with an increase of 2.6+/-8.8 seconds in the control group ( P <.001). The intervention group had significantly greater improvements from baseline on 8 of 9 items on the SF-36 compared with the control group.

CONCLUSIONS:  Controlled whole body vibration can improve elements of fall risk and HRQOL in elderly patients.

PMID: 15706558

Women Improve Knee-Extension Strength

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jun;52(6):901-8.

Whole-body-vibration training increases knee-extension strength and speed of movement in older women.

Roelants M, Delecluse C, Verschueren SM.

Source:  Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratory, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Department of Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

ABSTRACT:

OBJECTIVES:  To investigate the effects of 24 weeks of whole-body-vibration (WBV) training on knee-extension strength and speed of movement and on counter-movement jump performance in older women.

DESIGN:  A randomized, controlled trial.

SETTING:  Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratory, Leuven, Belgium.

PARTICIPANTS:  Eighty-nine postmenopausal women, off hormone replacement therapy, aged 58 to 74, were randomly assigned to a WBV group (n=30), a resistance-training group (RES, n=30), or a control group (n=29).

INTERVENTION:  The WBV group and the RES group trained three times a week for 24 weeks. The WBV group performed unloaded static and dynamic knee-extensor exercises on a vibration platform, which provokes reflexive muscle activity. The RES group trained knee-extensors by performing dynamic leg-press and leg-extension exercises increasing from low (20 repetitions maximum (RM)) to high (8RM) resistance. The control group did not participate in any training.

MEASUREMENTS:  Pre-, mid- (12 weeks), and post- (24 weeks) isometric strength and dynamic strength of knee extensors were measured using a motor-driven dynamometer. Speed of movement of knee extension was assessed using an external resistance equivalent to 1%, 20%, 40%, and 60% of isometric maximum. Counter-movement jump performance was determined using a contact mat.

RESULTS:  Isometric and dynamic knee extensor strength increased significantly (P<.001) in the WBV group (mean+/-standard error 15.0+/-2.1% and 16.1+/-3.1%, respectively) and the RES group (18.4+/-2.8% and 13.9+/-2.7%, respectively) after 24 weeks of training, with the training effects not significantly different between the groups (P=.558). Speed of movement of knee extension significantly increased at low resistance (1% or 20% of isometric maximum) in the WBV group only (7.4+/-1.8% and 6.3+/-2.0%, respectively) after 24 weeks of training, with no significant differences in training effect between the WBV and the RES groups (P=.391; P=.142). Counter-movement jump height enhanced significantly (P<.001) in the WBV group (19.4+/-2.8%) and the RES group (12.9+/-2.9%) after 24 weeks of training. Most of the gain in knee-extension strength and speed of movement and in counter-movement jump performance had been realized after 12 weeks of training.

CONCLUSION:  WBV is a suitable training method and is as efficient as conventional RES training to improve knee-extension strength and speed of movement and counter-movement jump performance in older women. As previously shown in young women, it is suggested that the strength gain in older women is mainly due to the vibration stimulus and not only to the unloaded exercises performed on the WBV platform.

PMID: 15161453

Balance Training & Exercise

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2000 Sep;1(1):61-5.

Balance training and exercise in geriatric patients.

Runge M, Rehfeld G, Resnicek E.

Source:  Aerpah-Klinik Esslingen, Germany. RungeEsslingen@t-online.de

Abstract

Purpose:  Objective measures of gait and balance which meet the criteria of reliability and validity are required as a basis for exercise regimens. We established reference values of clinically relevant locomotor and balance performances for geriatric patients. We are using these data for evaluating the effects of different therapeutic approaches to locomotor and balance disorders.

Reference values for chair rising.

  • We administered a battery of five tests concerning neuromuscular function, locomotion and balance to a sample of 212 participants without apparent locomotor deficits (139 women, 73 men, mean age 70,5 years, SD 6,78 , median 70 years, range 60 to 90 years, recruited by public announcements).
  • The test battery comprised the ‘chair rising test’ for measuring lower extremity neuromuscular function (five repetitions of rising from a chair as quickly as possible with arms crossed over the chest). The test has been proven reliable, valid, sensible and predictive for falls and future locomotor status and ADL-status.
  • Chair rising [sec/5x], Range: 5.4-19.4, Mean: 9.1 (women:9.2, men:9.0), SD: 1.97, Median: 8.9.

Training of balance and muscle power with Galileo 2000 – preliminary results. Galileo is a device for whole body vibration/oscillatory muscle stimulation. The subject stands with bended knees and hips on a rocking platform with a sagittal axle, which thrusts alternatively the right and left leg 7-14 mm upwards with a frequency of 27 Hz, thereby lengthening the extensor muscles of the lower extremities.

  • The reflexive reaction of the neuromuscular system is a chain of rapid muscle contractions. We conducted a randomized controlled trial, n=34 (age: mean 67y, range 61-85, 11 female), cross-over design, intervention group 2 months training program three times a week (each session 3×2 minutes), performance tests of all participants every two weeks).
  • The first 19 subjects have finished the intervention period. They reached mean performance gains in chair rising of 18%, strikingly different to the constant values of the controls!

Conclusion:  We interpret the findings as improvements in muscle power by the oscillative muscle stimulation.

PMID: 15758528