Sensor-based balance training with motion feedback in people with mild cognitive impairment

Michael Schwenk, Marwan Sabbagh, Ivy Lin, Pharah Morgan, Gurtej S. Grewal, Jane Mohler, David W. Coon, Bijan Najafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Some individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) experience not only cognitive deficits but also a decline in motor function, including postural balance. This pilot study sought to estimate the feasibility, user experience, and effects of a novel sensor-based balance training program. Patients with amnestic MCI (mean age 78.2 yr) were randomized to an intervention group (IG, n = 12) or control group (CG, n = 10). The IG underwent balance training (4 wk, twice a week) that included weight shifting and virtual obstacle crossing. Real-time visual/audio lower-limb motion feedback was provided from wearable sensors. The CG received no training. User experience was measured by a questionnaire. Postintervention effects on balance (center of mass sway during standing with eyes open [EO] and eyes closed), gait (speed, variability), cognition, and fear of falling were measured. Eleven participants (92%) completed the training and expressed fun, safety, and helpfulness of sensor feedback. Sway (EO, p = 0.04) and fear of falling (p = 0.02) were reduced in the IG compared to the CG. Changes in other measures were nonsignificant. Results suggest that the sensorbased training paradigm is well accepted in the target population and beneficial for improving postural control. Future studies should evaluate the added value of the sensor-based training compared to traditional training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-958
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016


  • Balance
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dementia
  • Exercise
  • Exergame
  • Fall prevention
  • Fall risk
  • Interactive
  • Older adults
  • Postural control
  • Wearable sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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