Implementing the Gait and Balance Gym and the Effect on Falls and Falls Risk Factors

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary Virtual-reality balance training has recently gained prominence, particularly with the use of systems such as the Nintendo Wii. Our clinic makes use of the Balance Rehabilitation Unit (BRU) by Medicaa, a virtual-reality system which is valid and reliable in the assessment and training of static balance.

Project Details

Located at the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Sciences (AIMSS), the Gait and Balance Gym (Gabagym) is a specialised clinic, which uses innovative and novel methods of training for falls prevention. By translating research into the clinical setting, older patients with a history of falls and fractures will undertake traditional exercise classes, virtual-reality balance training and whole body vibration.Exercise has been extensively studied and shown to reduce the risk for falls, with the Otago protocol proving particularly effective. Virtual-reality balance training has recently gained prominence, particularly with the use of systems such as the Nintendo Wii. Our clinic makes use of the Balance Rehabilitation Unit (BRU) by Medicaa, a virtual-reality system which is valid and reliable in the assessment and training of static balance. Whole body vibration is another novel method of balance training, with our Powerplate platforms demonstrating positive effects on measures of strength, balance, mobility and bone mineral density in a time effective manner. This study aims to investigate the effect of three training modalities (exercise, virtual-reality and whole body vibration) on fall rates and identified measures of falls risk and function. Outcome measures will include the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), handgrip strength, timed up and go, four square step test and posturography assessment (using the BRU). Subjective measures of fear of falls and adherence rates will also be reported.




Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

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