Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS)

Degree Name

Interdisciplinary Studies

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Motor control, Pediatrics, Neuroscience

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Alessandro Danna-dos-Santos

Commitee Members

Alessandro Danna-dos-Santos, Matthew Bundle, Adriana Degani


Postural behavior, lifespan


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Developmental Neuroscience | Kinesiology | Physical Therapy


The present study aimed to investigate human balance control by assessing postural sway on three groups representing three stages of life (6-12, 19-40 and 65-74 years old). There were 14 individuals in each group and they were tested during upright bipedal stance with either eyes open or closed. Focus was given to multiple sway indices representing multi-dimensional features of postural sway in quiet stance and included: the center of pressure area, amplitude, root mean square (RMS), velocity, jerkiness, and sample entropy. Results confirmed that children and seniors swayed more (p<.004), faster (p<.001) and their body sway was shakier (p<.001) than young adults. Seniors also presented faster (p<.006) and shakier (p<.001) sway than children and a more unpredictable pattern of body sway in time (p<.002) than children and young adults. In addition, children presented a more random anterior-posterior sway (p<.034) and a more regular medio-lateral sway (p<.043) than young adults, and a higher synchronization between anterior-posterior and medio-lateral body sway (p<.012) than young adults and seniors. We also observed that postural control of children and young adults becomes relatively more challenged in experimental situations when eyes were closed for most postural indices. In conclusion, this study suggests that multi-dimension posturography is sensitive to detect subtle age-related changes in the postural behavior and each stage of life may have their own signature patterns of postural behavior. Therefore, we expect that quantifications of this nature may be used to assess not only postural instability and fall risk but also to aid the testing of the efficacy of balance interventional protocols.



© Copyright 2017 Maria M B N R Santos