Lighting and Perceptual Cues: Effects on Gait Measures in Older Adults at High and Low Risk for FallsBy Figuerio, Mariana G.; Plitnick, Barbara; Rea, Mary S.; Gras, Laura Z.; Rea, Mark S.; BMC Geriatrics, Volume 11, Number 49
Publication Date: August 24, 2011
Study tested the effectiveness of a novel lighting solution that aids walkers by providing low level ambient illumination together with enhanced horizontal plane information. The study was based on the hypothesis that providing enhanced veridical perceptual cues to older adults while walking should improve their balance control. Participants were 24 adults with a mean age of 78 years, 16 of whom were women and 12 of whom had experienced a fall in the last 12 months. Participants experienced 3 lighting conditions: pathway illuminated by (1) general ceiling mounted fixtures, (2) conventional plugin night lights, and (3) plugin night lights supplemented by laser lines outlining the pathway. Gait measures were collected using the GAITRite walkway system, a 12 feet long flexible mat with built in sensors which record when pressure is applied to them and send the information to a computer. Participants were found to perform best under the general ceiling mounted light system and worst under the night light alone. The laser outlined pathway plus night lights increased gait velocity and reduced step length variability compared to the night lights alone in those at greater risk of falling. Implications for the design of a novel, commercially available system similar to the pathway lights tested are discussed.
Published by: BioMed Central Ltd (Website:http://www.biomedcentral.com)
Link to text: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2318-11-49.pdf