The remarkable ability of the body to maintain balance is the result of central nervous system integration of sophisticated inputs from the vestibular, visual, and somatosensory systems. Strategies by patients with balance dysfunction are aphysiologic when their performance is relatively better on more difficult conditions of sensory conflict than on easier ones. Twenty-two aphysiologic patterns on computerized dynamic posturography were compared with age-matched normal and vestibular patterns. The aphysiologic group performed significantly better than the patients in the vestibular dysfunction group on the most difficult subtests of computerized dynamic posturography, conditions 5 and 6, yet significantly poorer on the easier subtests, conditions 1 through 4. In addition, patients in the aphysiologic group tended to show greater intertrial variability compared with patients in both normal and vestibular system dysfunction groups. A stepwise linear discriminant analysis was used to determine a set of conditions that had significant value in discriminating between the three patient groups. Case studies are presented to further illustrate the clinical usefulness of computerized dynamic posturography testing in the evaluation of patients suspected of having a functional component to their on-feet balance problems.
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