Computerized functional reach test to measure balance stability in elderly patients with neurological disorders

Silvio Scena, Roberto Steindler, Moira Ceci, Stefano Maria Zuccaro, Eli Carmeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to maintain static and dynamic balance is a prerequisite for safe walking and for obtaining functional mobility. For this reason, a reliable and valid means of screening for risk of falls is needed. The functional reach test (FRT) is used in many countries, yet it does not provide some kinematic parameters such as shoulder or pelvic girdles translation. The purpose was to analyze video records measuring of distance, velocity, time length, arm direction and girdles translation while doing FRT.

A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted where the above variables were correlated to the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) for mental status and the Tinetti balance assessment test, which have been validated, in order to computerize the FRT (cFRT) for elderly patients with neurological disorders. Eighty patients were tested and 54 were eligible to serve as experimental group. The patients underwent the MMSE, the Tinetti test and the FRT. LAB view software was used to record the FRT performances and to process the videos. The control group consisted of 51 healthy subjects who had been previously tested.

The experimental group was not able to perform the tests as well as the healthy control subjects. The video camera provided valuable kinematic results such as bending down while performing the forward reach test.

Instead of manual measurement, we proposed to use a cheap with fair resolution web camera to accurately estimate the FRT. The kinematic parameters were correlated with Tinetti and MMSE scores. The performance values established in this study indicate that the cFRT is a reliable and valid assessment, which provides more accurate data than “manual” test about functional reach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number715–720
Pages (from-to)715-720
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical medicine research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016


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