Aging is a natural process in which many body functions such as cognition, sensorimotor functions and muscle strength gradually decline. This decline however affects the performance of tasks and activities which are critical to community participation and integration, and consequently, quality of life. It is important to delay the deterioration of this aging process, and we will be targeting the physical parameter, specifically in the area of balance and falls. Investigation of balance is challenging, and it is often evaluated as a variable that is part of a broader performance indicator or assessment (e.g. Berg Balance Scale, Timed Up and Go). The ability to balance is a combination of many different factors, and it is important to examine the root cause or causes of reduced balance in order to conduct precise assessment and interventions.
In this research program, we hope to identify the correlation and contribution of each bodily function to balance. This is achieved by creating a database that contains 1) the performance of each pre-identified bodily function that affects the balance ability (sensorimotor, muscle strength, endurance, anthropometry, flexibility, cognition), and 2) the performance of balance ability during periods of instability. Through correlation study, the contribution and trend of each bodily function affecting the balance ability will be made known. The results of this correlation study will then inform our clinical partners how they can most effectively improve an individual’s ability to balance through targeted interventions. The intervention will also be optimized through machine learning, which aims to help the individual achieve the greatest outcome with the minimum effort. Finally, the correlation study will also generate low fidelity and operational-ready assessment tools that can identify at-risk individuals and provide real-time monitoring to reduce the risk of falls.