Can older adults’ balance and mobility improve with visual attention training?

TitleCan older adults’ balance and mobility improve with visual attention training?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAlthomali, M., L. Vallis, and S. Leat
JournalEuropean journal of applied physiology
KeywordsAgeing, Balance, Falls, Mobility, Visual attention

Purpose: We hypothesize that training older adults with a structured visual attention task will result in improved balance and mobility, potentially reducing their risk for falls. Methods: Healthy older adults aged 70 + took part in the study (mean age 80.3 ± 6 years). In this randomised control trial (NCT02030743), 15 participants were randomly assigned to a visual attention training group and 15 to a control group. Visual attention training was undertaken twice a week (45 min sessions) for 3 weeks (= six sessions) using versions of a selective attention useful field of view test and attended field of view test. The outcome measures were postural sway using a force plate, the Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test, the One-Legged Stance test, the 5 Meter Walking test, the Sit to Stand test, the Timed Up and Go test without and with a concurrent cognitive task. Results: There was a greater improvement in visual attention after training in the intervention group compared to the control group (p < 0.01). However, a mixed ANOVA (2× groups, 2× visit) showed no main effect of visit or group or any interaction for any of the force plate parameters. T tests of the changes over time between the intervention group and the control groups for the other balance and mobility assessment tools showed no improvement after the visual attention training. Conclusion: It was found that there was no improvement in either mobility or balance after the visual attention training and no difference between the intervention and the control groups. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.