Abstract: Poster 149 quantitative balance and self-reported health status in medically unexplained illness

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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Sep;85(9):E34. Ismailu O. Agbaje, PhD, MD (War Related Illness and Injury Study Ctr, East Orange, NJ); Karen Quigley, PhD; Mariam Maney, MA, CPHQ; Benjamin Natelson, MD; Thomas Findley, MD, PhD, e-mail: agbaje@njneuromed.org. [No authors listed] DISCLOSURE: I.O. Agbaje, None; K. Quigley, None; M. Maney, None; B. Natelson, None; T. Findley, None.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the relation between self-reported health survey and standing balance, which is sensitive to exposures such as jet fuel and sarin.

Design: Observational study with 2 control groups. Setting: Veteran Administration. Participants: 19 veterans with medically unexplained illness, 27 with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and 17 age-matched controls. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: In the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) (EquiTest), subjects are asked to stand on a movable platform under 6 sensory conditions: eyes open, quiet stance (control condition); eyes closed, quiet stance; sway-referenced visual surround; sway-referenced support surface; sway-referenced support with eyes closed; and sway-referenced support and visual surround. The SF-36 is a well-validated self-administered questionnaire, which elicits information on 8 different aspects of health: physical functioning, role-physical, bodily pain, general health, vitality and energy, social functioning, role-emotional, and mental health and emotional well-being. These are combined into physical composite score (PCS) and mental composite score (MCS).

Results: 50% of veterans scored more than 2 SDs below normal on balance testing versus 10% of controls and 35% of subjects with CFS. SOT score correlated well with age, body mass index, MCS, PCS, and diagnosis (r(2)=.78, P<.001).

Conclusions: Quantitative balance testing is abnormal in many deployed veterans with unexplained medical symptoms. Our preliminary findings of a high correlation between the SOT score derived from the EquiTest and self-reported health suggest that subtle balance problems are important factors in perceived health status. PMID: 15376048 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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