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Multisystem Balance Training Reduces Injurious Fall Risk in Parkinson Disease

A Randomized Trial

Wong-Yu, Irene S.K., PhD; Mak, Margaret K.Y., PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: March 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 3 - p 239–244
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001035
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Previous studies have shown that balance training could reduce falls in people with Parkinson disease. However, it remains unclear whether exercise can reduce injurious falls. The objective of present study was to determine whether multisystem balance training could reduce injurious falls and modify targeted fall risk factors in Parkinson disease nonfallers and single fallers. Participants were randomly assigned to an 8-wk balance group (experimental, n = 41) or an upper limbs group (control, n = 43). Outcomes examined at posttraining and 12-mo follow-up were: (1) injurious fall risk (ratio of noninjurious fallers to injurious fallers); (2) two potential fall risk factors based on Balance Evaluation Systems Test scores and dual-task timed-up-and-go times. At posttraining, results indicated that there were no injurious falls, and fewer experimental participants were found in high fall risk cohorts based on Balance Evaluation Systems Test scores and dual-task timed-up-and-go times (P < 0.05). At 12-mo follow-up, the number of injurious fallers was lower in experimental group (P < 0.05). There was also a marginally lower percentage of experimental group in the high fall risk cohort based on Balance Evaluation Systems Test scores (P = 0.059). The findings conclude that multisystem balance training potentially reduces injurious fall risk up to 12-mo posttraining and lowers balance-related fall risks in people with Parkinson disease.

From the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China.

All correspondence should be addressed to: Margaret K. Y. Mak, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 11 Yuk Choi Rd, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, China.

This study was funded by the Hong Kong Parkinson's Disease Foundation (8-ZH89) and Shun Hing Education and Charity Fund (WP 847P).

ISKW-Y did the research project (conception, organization, execution), statistical analysis (design, execution, review, and critique), and manuscript (writing, review, and critique). MKYM did the research project (conception, organization), statistical analysis (review and critique), and manuscript (review and critique).

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

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