Assessing the development of balance function in children using stabilometry.

Department of Otolaryngology, Taipei Hospital, Department of Health, The Executive Yuan, Taipei, Taiwan.
International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology (Impact Factor: 0.85). 03/2009; 73(5):737-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2009.01.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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