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Tysh, Melissa; Tufts, Rachel; Kelly, Laura; James, Holly; Clark, Emily; Scannell, Rhian; Sarin, Beverly
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects: RM
Purpose: To determine whether therapeutic communication impacts on the postural stability of healthy adults.\ud Relevance: Overloading cognitive capacity may contribute to falls, fatigue and reduce patients’ ability to engage in motor learning tasks. The study aimed to investigate whether therapeutic communication has an unacknowledged impact on patients’ postural stability.\ud Participants: 31 Cardiff University staff and student volunteers, aged 18-60 years [mean 34 years 9 months] without neurological, musculoskeletal, cognitive or sensory balance impairment.\ud Methods: A within-subject experimental design was used on two age groups. Six collaborating researchers gathered centre of pressure total excursion [metres] measurements, from subjects in step-stance for 30 seconds, using a Kistler force platform. Quiet stand [QS, control] and three experimental conditions were tested: General conversation [GC], question and answer [QA] and Stroop test [ST].\ud \ud Analysis: 2-tailed paired T-tests [sig p < 0.05] analysed differences between means of control and experimental conditions.\ud \ud Results: Compared to QS (0.75m [SD = 0.131]), GC and QA produced significant increases in total excursion (0.828m [SD = 0.161] p = 0.000 and 0.830m [SD = 0.179] p = 0.001 respectively). ST did not alter total excursion significantly (0.759m [SD = 0.115] p = 0.616).\ud \ud Conclusions: GC and QA have been shown to significantly influence the postural stability of a healthy population where cognitive capacity and motor control are not compromised. Greater variability during QA suggests individual differences are important. Anticipated cognitive challenge [ST] facilitated a securing of postural stability, enabling focus on the expected task. Future research should establish the impact on specific patient populations.\ud Implications: Where cognitive challenge is not anticipated, e.g. during everyday conversation, people do not automatically utilise anticipatory control strategies. Therapists should recognise how therapeutic interactions can shift their patients’ attention away from postural control. Increasing awareness of this in practice and education of patients and carers could enhance safety, optimise benefits of treatment sessions and reduce fatigue.
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