Postural stability and history of falls in cognitively able older adults: The Canton Ticino study

Andrea Merlo, Damiano Zemp, Enrica Zanda, Sabrina Rocchi, Fabiano Meroni, Mauro Tettamanti, Angela Recchia, Ugo Lucca, Pierluigi Quadri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Falls are common events in the elderly and represent the main risk factor for fractures and other injuries. Strategies for fall prevention rely on the multifactorial assessment of the risk of falling. The contribution of instrumented balance assessment to the prediction of falls remains unclear in the literature. In this study, we analyzed the association between the fall-history of a wide sample of older people without dementia and the values of a set of posturographic parameters acquired in different visual, proprioceptive and mental conditions. A consecutive sample of 130 cognitively able elderly subjects, age ≥ 70 years, was analyzed. Based on their fall-history in the last year, subjects were categorized into non-fallers (NF), fallers (F) and recurrent fallers (RF > 2 falls). Each subject was assessed by measurements of cognition and functional ability. Static posturography tests were performed in five conditions: with eyes open/close (EO/EC) on a firm/compliant (FS/CS) surface and while performing a cognitive task. The center of pressure (COP) mean position referred to the mid-point of the heels, area of the 95% confidence ellipse, sway mean velocities and RMS displacements in the antero-posterior (AP) and medio-lateral (ML) directions were computed and their association with the fall-history was assessed. The mean position of the COP in the AP direction and the confidence ellipse area were associated with the fall-history in the EOFS, ECFS and EOCS conditions (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-666
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Aging
  • Balance
  • Center of pressure
  • Falls
  • Postural control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics


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