Quantitative Balance and Gait Measurement in Patients

What is the purpose of this research?

The purpose of the study by Velayutham, Chandra, Bharath, & Shankar (2017) was to find out whether patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD) would have trouble maintaining gait and balance after doing several tasks when compared to healthy subjects.

What is the research question (or questions)? This may be implicit or explicit.

The research question was: Are there significant differences in balance and gait between groups of patients with AD, with FTD, or normal elderly individuals?

Give a complete description of the research design of this study.

The study utilized a quantitative, observational, correlational design.

What is the population (sample) for this study?

The population included male individuals aged 50-70, who had either AD, FTD, or did not have those diseases. The sample comprised 24 male individuals, 8 of whom had AD, another 8 had FTD, and the remaining 8 had neither AD nor FTD.

Was the sampling approach adequate for the research design that was selected and explain why?

The participants with adverse mental conditions were recruited via the Outpatient Department of Neurology and Geriatric Clinic, whereas the control group was recruited from the local community. This is a method of convenience sampling.

This sampling approach does not provide a random selection of the participants from the population. However, this should not be a large concern in this case, because the participants in a very specific condition were selected, ones that come from a very limited population already. To a certain extent, this may be considered a homogeneous sampling technique, for the members of the sample share a large number of similar traits. Therefore, the sampling procedure should be adequate in this case.

Describe the data collection procedure.

The data was collected from participants doing specific movements; such values as a base of support, overall balance index, anteroposterior index, mediolateral index, etc., were recorded using specifically purposed equipment.

How were the data analyzed after collection?

Shapiro-Wilk test of normality was run. Descriptives for age, BMI, education in years were obtained. Within-groups characteristic (single vs. dual-task) was compared with paired samples t-test. The differences between groups were compared using a one-way ANOVA; post-hoc tests were run using the Bonferroni correction.

Discuss the limitations found in the study.

There are several limitations. For instance, the sample size (8 persons per each of the 3 groups) is rather small. There are some non-significant at α<.05 differences on page 179 which are marked as significant at α<.05 for some reason (for instance, the value of.052 for LOS, forward left); however, such a small difference (.002) between the p-value and α is indeed a poor reason for outright dismissing the results as non-significant.

Discuss the authors’ conclusions. Do you feel these conclusions are based on the data that they collected?

The authors conclude that there exist issues with gait and balance in normal elderly individuals, and similar, more serious issues in patients with AD or FTD. On the whole, the conclusions seem to be based on the data, although authors overlook noting in the conclusions that the patients were all male.

How does this advance knowledge in the field?

The study confirms that elderly male patients with neurodegenerative dementias such as AD and FTD have poorer balance and gait than people without such diseases. According to the authors, this fact may be utilized as an additional biomarker, as well as might help prevent patient falls.

References

Velayutham, S. G., Chandra, S. R., Bharath, S., & Shankar, R. G. (2017). Quantitative balance and gait measurement in patients with frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer diseases: A pilot study. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 39(2), 176-182. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.203132.