This study assessed the development of balance function in children using platform stabilometry.
A total of 251 healthy children aged from 3 to 12 years were enrolled in this study. Each subject underwent stabilometry under four various conditions (A: firm surface with eyes open; B: firm surface with eyes closed; C: foam pad with eyes open; and D: foam pad with eyes closed). Another 23 healthy adults were also tested with the same protocol for comparison. Sway magnitudes such as sway velocity and circular area were calculated and compared.
Since the age was positively correlated with body height and body weight, age factor was used to correlate with the sway magnitude. The sway velocity under conditions A through D reached adult level when the child grew up to 7, 7, 8 and 12 years, respectively. In contrast, the circular area under conditions A through D reached adult level when the child was at the age of 5, 6, 8 and 7 years, respectively. Thus, balance function can be up to adult levels by age 12 years.
Compared to adults, higher sway velocity and larger circular area in children indicate incomplete development of vestibular and central nervous systems integration. Our results suggest that age factor serves the most reliable index to estimate the functional development of balance system, and a child at the age of 12 years is supposed to reach balance level of an adult.
"A second explanation, offered by Woollacott et al. (1987), Peterson et al. (2006), and Cuisinier et al. (2011), is that it is the integration between sensory systems, rather than the sensory systems themselves, that is underdeveloped in children. Supportive of this assumption are studies that show that children have more problems than adults when they have to balance under conflicting sensory conditions (e.g., Peterka and Black, 1990; Cherng et al., 2001; Hsu et al., 2009). Third, the lower PS in children might be due to a lower degree of intersegmental coordination reflected in a hampered head stabilization, as suggested by Assaiante and Amblard (1995), Berger et al. (1995), Mallau et al. (2010), and Schärli et al. (2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children are less stable than adults during static upright stance. We investigated whether the same holds true for a task that was novel for both children and adults and highly dynamic: single-legged stance on a slackline. We compared 8-year-olds with young adults and assessed the following outcome measures: time on the slackline, stability on the slackline (calculated from slackline reaction force), gaze movement, head-in-space rotation and translation, trunk-in-space rotation, and head-on-trunk rotation. Eight-year-olds fell off the slackline quicker and were generally less stable on the slackline than adults. Eight-year-olds also showed more head-in-space rotation and translation, and more gaze variability around a visual anchor point they were instructed to fixate. Trunk-in-space and head-on-trunk rotations did not differ between groups. The results imply that the lower postural stability of 8-year-olds compared to adults - as found in simple upright stance - holds true for dynamic, novel tasks in which adults lack the advantage of more practice. They also suggest that the lack of head and gaze stability constitutes an important limiting factor in children's ability to master such tasks.
Frontiers in Psychology 04/2013; 4:208. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00208 · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study utilized a combined ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP) and cervical VEMP (cVEMP) test in children with benign paroxysmal vertigo (BPV) to investigate whether the upper or lower brainstem is more frequently affected in BPV children.
Fifteen BPV children aged 4-14 years, and 15 age- and sex-matched healthy children were enrolled. All subjects underwent pure tone audiometry, stabilometry, and a combined oVEMP and cVEMP test using acoustic stimulation.
All BPV patients displayed normal hearing and clear oVEMPs. However, 11 (73%) of 15 BPV patients had delayed cVEMPs, showing significant difference when compared with 100% normal cVEMPs in healthy children. The sway path and sway area in stabilometry were significantly different between BPV and healthy children, regardless of whether their eyes were open or closed. However, neither the sway path nor sway area correlated significantly with cVEMP results.
Normal oVEMPs in BPV children indicate an intact vestibulo-ocular reflex pathway, which travels through the upper brainstem. In contrast, delayed cVEMPs in BPV children reflect a retrolabyrinthine lesion along the sacculo-collic reflex pathway, which descends via the lower brainstem. Hence, the lower brainstem is more frequently affected than the upper brainstem in children with BPV.
International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 03/2010; 74(5):523-7. DOI:10.1016/j.ijporl.2010.02.013 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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