Effects of Perturbation-Based Slip Training Using a Virtual Reality Environment on Slip-induced Falls

Prakriti Parijat, Thurmon Lockhart, Jian Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to design and evaluate the effectiveness of virtual reality training in improving recovery reactions and reducing fall frequency in older adults. Twenty-four older adults were recruited and randomly assigned to two groups (virtual reality training and control). Both groups underwent three sessions including baseline slip, training and transfer of training on slippery surface. Both groups experienced two slips, one during baseline and the other during the transfer of training trial. The training group underwent 12 simulated slips using a visual perturbation induced by tilting a virtual reality scene while walking on the treadmill and the control group performed normal walking during the training session. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected during all the sessions. Results demonstrated a reduced incidence of falls in the training group during the transfer of training trial as compared to the control group. The training group was able to transfer reactive control strategies learned during training to the second slip trial. The reactive adjustments included reduced slip distance. Additionally, gait parameters reflective of gait instability (stride length, step width, variability in stride velocity) reduced after walking in the VR environment for 15–20 min. The results indicated a beneficial effect of the virtual reality training in reducing slip severity and recovery kinematics in healthy older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)958-967
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Elderly
  • Fall prevention training
  • Falls
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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