A Comparison of Central Sensory Reception and Integration Abilities between Older Females with and without Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study


Purpose: Impaired postural control has been reported in females with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). This study aimed to investigate a) differences in central sensory reception and integration abilities for postural control between older females with and without FMS, and b) the influence of a secondary cognitive task on postural control in altered sensory environments. Methods: The performances of 10 older females with FMS were compared to eight age-matched healthy females across single and dual task conditions using the Sensory Organization Test®. Results: No significant group differences were evident for Composite Equilibrium Score (CES) in the single task condition (p = 0.06) but a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.96) was obtained, suggesting a clinically relevant difference existed between groups with respect to general sensory reception and integration abilities. Single trial Equilibrium Scores (ESs) for both groups declined significantly in the more complex sensory conditions across both task conditions (p < 0.01) with a greater decline evident for the FMS group in sensory condition 4 in the dual-task condition (p = 0.04). The FMS group also experienced multiple falls in sensory conditions 5 and 6 across both task conditions with a significantly higher percentage of falls evident for the FMS group in condition 6 across both task conditions (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Overall postural stability was significantly lower in the FMS group when compared to an age-matched control group. Postural stability declined further in the FMS group when attempting to perform a secondary cognitive task in both sensory conditions that primarily relied on vestibular inputs for postural control. A greater focus on multisensory and dual-task training in a balance environment may benefit older females with FMS.

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Ko, Y. and Rose, D. (2015) A Comparison of Central Sensory Reception and Integration Abilities between Older Females with and without Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Study. Advances in Aging Research, 4, 58-68. doi: 10.4236/aar.2015.42008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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