Action Observation Therapy Improves Gait, but does Not Affect Balance in Older Adults

Giedrė Morkutė, Rima Solianik


 Research background. Action observation therapy has been successfully applied in treatment of gait and balance problems in neurological patients, however its effects on gait and balance in older adults remains equivocal. Research aim. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of action observation therapy on gait and balance in older adults. Research methods. The study included 20 older adults. They were randomly assigned to control (usual physiotherapy plus nature recordings observation) and intervention (usual physiotherapy plus action recordings observation) groups. The interventions consisted of a 60-min program fve times a week, for 8 weeks. Gait and balance were evaluated before and after interventions. Research results. Both interventions signifcantly improved (p < 0.05) gait and balance. Greater gait improvement (p < 0.05) was observed after usual therapy plus action recordings observation compared with usual therapy plus nature recordings observation, whereas no differences in intervention effects on balance were observed. Conclusions. Action observation therapy can be used as an effective intervention to improve gait in older adults, whereas it has no effect on balance.

Keywords: action observation, motor function, elderly, mirror neurons.

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