Research into balance and sensory health

By Published On: 08/03/2024

A team of leading ophthalmology researchers who have been using the Neurometric Balance Mat in Singapore for the past nine months have provided me with this brief research update.

Known as the PopulatION HEalth and Age-Related SEnsory Decline PRofilE (PIONEER) study, the research is being conducted at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) by Professor Ecosse Lamoureux as principal investigator and Assistant Professor Preeti Gupta as co-investigator and lead project leader from the Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.

Ophthalmology Professor Ecosse Lamoureux is leading the PIONEER study
Professor Ecosse Lamoureux and Assistant Professor Preeti Gupta from Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore are leading a major balance and sensory health study.
Duke-NUS building in Singapore, home to the PIONEER sensory health study

PIONEER is a large, nationally-representative, population-based study in a contemporary population of 2,643 elderly Chinese, Malay and Indian Singaporeans aged 60–100 years with an overarching aim to better understand the sensory decline profile and complex mechanisms related to ageing.

The study team started using the Neurometric Balance Mat, a combined hardware–software tool, on 25 May 2023. “Over the period of approximately nine months we have collected balance data on 342 unique participants,” Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator) said. “From the ground level, this app is easy and quick to use. So far, we have not encountered any hardware issues.”

“Balance is a small but nevertheless important part of our study,” Assistant Professor Gupta explained. “We are using the Neurometric Balance Mat in addition to other similar measures such as 4 m gait speed test, and gait signatures using Zuric MOVE sensors.

“The data we are collecting from the Neurometric Balance Mat eyes open and eyes closed tests will help to assess how balance and postural stability are affected by sensory declines and systemic ailments commonly observed as part of the ageing process.

“We believe that collecting these data will significantly contribute to our research objectives as an understanding of gait, balance and postural stability are crucial to detecting high fall-risk individuals for timely intervention, and ultimately will benefit the healthcare landscape.

“To date, we have examined about 800 PIONEER participants and hope to end data collection by December 2025. However, once we have obtained balance data of about 1,000 individuals, we will conduct preliminary data analyses correlating balance measures with sensory and systemic health outcomes”, said Assistant Professor Gupta.

The Neurometric Balance Mat is measuring the balance ability of elderly Singaporeans at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Pictured is Mr Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator).
Balance Metrix Associate Roger Hausmann with senior clinical research coordinator Leow Zhun Hong at SERI
The study team at SERI have used the Neurometric Balance Mat to measure the balance of 800 elderly Singaporeans so far. Pictured is senior clinical research coordinator Leow Zhun Hong with the Balance Mat as well as with Canberra-based Balance Mat Associate Roger Hausmann on a visit during Covid-19 restrictions.

As well as helping to understand the sensory health implications of ageing, Professor Lamoureux said the findings of this study “will be instrumental in helping situate balance and postural testing as part of a suite of non-invasive assessments to detect falls in at-risk elderly community-dwelling individuals.”

“Given that most falls happen during locomotion and that the elderly are at an increased risk of falls-related health consequences, understanding the contribution of gait, balance and postural stability is critical to identifying high fall-risk individuals. The balance and postural stability results derived from this study will eventually feed into the Healthy Ageing Index in elderly Singaporeans that we are developing,” Professor Lamoureux said.

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Research into balance and sensory health

By Published On: 08/03/20240 Comments

A team of leading ophthalmology researchers who have been using the Neurometric Balance Mat in Singapore for the past nine months have provided me with this brief research update.

Known as the PopulatION HEalth and Age-Related SEnsory Decline PRofilE (PIONEER) study, the research is being conducted at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) by Professor Ecosse Lamoureux as principal investigator and Assistant Professor Preeti Gupta as co-investigator and lead project leader from the Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.

Ophthalmology Professor Ecosse Lamoureux is leading the PIONEER study
Professor Ecosse Lamoureux and Assistant Professor Preeti Gupta from Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore are leading a major balance and sensory health study.
Duke-NUS building in Singapore, home to the PIONEER sensory health study

PIONEER is a large, nationally-representative, population-based study in a contemporary population of 2,643 elderly Chinese, Malay and Indian Singaporeans aged 60–100 years with an overarching aim to better understand the sensory decline profile and complex mechanisms related to ageing.

The study team started using the Neurometric Balance Mat, a combined hardware–software tool, on 25 May 2023. “Over the period of approximately nine months we have collected balance data on 342 unique participants,” Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator) said. “From the ground level, this app is easy and quick to use. So far, we have not encountered any hardware issues.”

“Balance is a small but nevertheless important part of our study,” Assistant Professor Gupta explained. “We are using the Neurometric Balance Mat in addition to other similar measures such as 4 m gait speed test, and gait signatures using Zuric MOVE sensors.

“The data we are collecting from the Neurometric Balance Mat eyes open and eyes closed tests will help to assess how balance and postural stability are affected by sensory declines and systemic ailments commonly observed as part of the ageing process.

“We believe that collecting these data will significantly contribute to our research objectives as an understanding of gait, balance and postural stability are crucial to detecting high fall-risk individuals for timely intervention, and ultimately will benefit the healthcare landscape.

“To date, we have examined about 800 PIONEER participants and hope to end data collection by December 2025. However, once we have obtained balance data of about 1,000 individuals, we will conduct preliminary data analyses correlating balance measures with sensory and systemic health outcomes”, said Assistant Professor Gupta.

The Neurometric Balance Mat is measuring the balance ability of elderly Singaporeans at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Pictured is Mr Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator).
Balance Metrix Associate Roger Hausmann with senior clinical research coordinator Leow Zhun Hong at SERI
The study team at SERI have used the Neurometric Balance Mat to measure the balance of 800 elderly Singaporeans so far. Pictured is senior clinical research coordinator Leow Zhun Hong with the Balance Mat as well as with Canberra-based Balance Mat Associate Roger Hausmann on a visit during Covid-19 restrictions.

As well as helping to understand the sensory health implications of ageing, Professor Lamoureux said the findings of this study “will be instrumental in helping situate balance and postural testing as part of a suite of non-invasive assessments to detect falls in at-risk elderly community-dwelling individuals.”

“Given that most falls happen during locomotion and that the elderly are at an increased risk of falls-related health consequences, understanding the contribution of gait, balance and postural stability is critical to identifying high fall-risk individuals. The balance and postural stability results derived from this study will eventually feed into the Healthy Ageing Index in elderly Singaporeans that we are developing,” Professor Lamoureux said.

READ ALL MY BLOG POSTS:

  • The Neurometric Balance Mat is measuring the balance ability of elderly Singaporeans at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Pictured is Mr Leow Zhun Hong (study senior clinical research coordinator).

Research into balance and sensory health

08/03/2024|0 Comments

A team of leading ophthalmology researchers who have been using the Neurometric Balance Mat in Singapore for the past nine months have provided me with this brief research update. Known as the PopulatION HEalth and Age-Related ...