Identification of the period of stability in a balance test after stepping up using a simplified cumulative sum
Medical Engineering and Physics
Falls are a major cause of death in older people. One method used to predict falls is analysis of Cen- tre of Pressure (CoP) displacement, which provides a measure of balance quality. The Balance Quality Tester (BQT) is a device based on a commercial bathroom scale that calculates instantaneous values of vertical ground reaction force (Fz) as well as the CoP in both anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) directions. The entire testing process needs to take no longer than 12 s to ensure subject compliance, making it vital that calculations related to balance are only calculated for the period when the subject is static. In the present study, a method is presented to detect the stabilization period after a subject has stepped onto the BQT. Four different phases of the test are identified (stepping-on, stabilization, balancing, stepping-off), ensuring that subjects are static when parameters from the balancing phase are calculated. The method, based on a simplified cumulative sum (CUSUM) algorithm, could detect the change between unstable and stable stance. The time taken to stabilize significantly affected the static balance variables of surface area and trajectory velocity, and was also related to Timed-up-and-Go per- formance. Such a finding suggests that the time to stabilize could be a worthwhile parameter to explore as a potential indicator of balance problems and fall risk in older people.