Novel Compliant Flooring Systems from Head to Toes: Influences on Early Compensatory Balance Reactions in Retirement-Home Dwelling Adults and on Impact Dynamics during Simulated Head Impacts
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The overall goal of my research was to advance our understanding of the potential for novel compliant flooring systems to reduce the risk for fall-related injuries in older adults, including fall-related traumatic brain injury (TBI). This entailed an assessment of how these floors affect the competing demands of fall-related TBI – impact severity attenuation in concert with minimal concomitant impairments to balance control and postural stability. Two studies are included as part of this thesis. The first study used a mechanical drop tower to assess the effects of four traditional flooring systems and six novel compliant flooring conditions on the impact dynamics of a surrogate headform during the impact phase of simulated ‘worst- case’ head impacts. The second study entailed an assessment of the effect of two traditional and three novel compliant floors on the initial phase of the compensatory balance reactions of older adult men and women living in a residential-care facility environment following an externally induced perturbation using a tether-release paradigm. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that novel compliant floors substantially attenuate the forces and accelerations applied to the head during simulated worst- case impacts when compared to traditional flooring surfaces such as vinyl and carpet with underpadding. These benefits are achieved without compromising indices of balance control, supported by the finding that parameters characterizing early compensatory balance reactions were unaffected by the novel compliant floors tested. This work supports the introduction of pilot installations of novel compliant flooring systems into environments with high incidences of falls to test their effectiveness at reducing fall-related injuries in clinical settings.
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Alexander David Wright (2011). Novel Compliant Flooring Systems from Head to Toes: Influences on Early Compensatory Balance Reactions in Retirement-Home Dwelling Adults and on Impact Dynamics during Simulated Head Impacts. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/6015