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Open Access Research

The development of postural strategies in children: a factorial design study

Maurizio Schmid1*, Silvia Conforto1, Luisa Lopez2, Paolo Renzi3 and Tommaso D'Alessio1

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Elettronica Applicata, Università degli Studi "Roma TRE", Italy

2 Unità di Neurologia Infantile, Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata", Italy

3 Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2005, 2:29  doi:10.1186/1743-0003-2-29

Published: 30 September 2005

Abstract

Background

The present study investigates balance control mechanisms, their variations with the absence of visual input, and their development in children from 7 to 11 years old, in order to provide insights on the development of balance control in the pediatric population.

Methods

Posturographic data were recorded during 60 s trials administered on a sample population of 148 primary school children while stepping and then quietly standing on a force plate in two different vision conditions: eyes closed and eyes open. The extraction of posturographic parameters on the quiet standing phase of the experiment was preceded by the implementation of an algorithm to identify the settling time after stepping on the force plate. The effect of different conditions on posturographic parameters was tested with a two-way ANOVA (Age × Vision), and the corresponding eyes-closed/eyes-open (Romberg) Ratios underwent a one-way ANOVA.

Results

Several posturographic measures were found to be sensitive to testing condition (eyes closed vs. eyes open) and some of them to age and anthropometric parameters. The latter relationship did not explain all the data variability with age. An evident modification of postural strategy was observed between 7 and 11 years old children.

Conclusion

Simple measures extracted from posturographic signals resulted sensitive to vision and age: data acquired from force plate made it possible to confirm the hypothesis of the development of postural strategies in children as a more mature selection and re-weighting of proprioceptive inputs to postural control in absence of visual input.

Keywords:
Postural Control; Development; Children