Research Study

Reliability of a New Test of Balance Function in Healthy and Concussion Populations

Kis, M.
first_pagesettingsOrder Article Reprints Open AccessArticle Reliability of a New Test of Balance Function in Healthy and Concussion Populations by Mihaly Kis Department of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto; Toronto, ON M5T 1P5, Canada J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020, 5(1), 13; Submission received: 1 November 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 14 February 2020 (This article belongs to the Section Sports Medicine and Nutrition) Downloadkeyboard_arrow_down Browse Figures Versions Notes Abstract Providing quantitative measures of balance and posture is a valuable aid in clinical assessment and in recent years several devices have been introduced that have demonstrated the accurate measure of balance via deviation of center of mass utilizing software algorithms and mobile devices. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of EQ Balance against the SwayTM Balance System (Sway), another balance device that is currently established as an accurate measure of balance, and to evaluate the test–retest reliability of EQ Balance. Seventy individuals presenting to a sports medicine and concussion clinic volunteered to participate in the assessment of balance utilizing Sway and EQ Balance simultaneously. The group included 25 males and 45 females (mean age: 37.8 ± 14.8, range: 13–65) with and without concussion or other neurological conditions (39 concussed vs. 31 non-neurologically injured, or healthy). Twenty-six of the concussed participants were balance-impaired. Participants performed five postures while holding the mobile device against their chest. Participants held a device holder that secured two devices: one iPhone 6 with EQ Balance and a second iPhone 6 with Sway Balance. The average balance score on all five stances was recorded as the “average balance score”. Average balance scores were in statistical agreement between the two methods across the entire group, and for sub-groups according to the Deming regression (p < 0.01). The intra-class correlation (ICC) for the cohort was 0.87 (p < 0.001). Across the cohort, EQ Balance measured significantly worse balance scores in the balance-impaired group, comprised of participants with brain injury who failed a clinical balance screening test, compared to the group without clinically-determined balance impairment (this group includes healthy and some concussed patients). EQ Balance demonstrated safety, as it was considered safe to perform independently (i.e., without an observer) in those with impaired balance, and high test- retest reliability in the healthy and concussed patient population. Statistical agreement was established between the two measures of EQ Balance and Sway Balance for the average balance score across all five stances. The ICC analysis demonstrates strong consistency of the task output between test sessions. Given these results, EQ Balance demonstrates strength as a new balance assessment tool to accurately measure balance performance as part of a unique and novel gamified application in healthy and neurologically injured populations.
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