Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
Why don't the summarize these things in plain English?
The procedure was as follows:
Stick a glowing dot on the persons shoulder, and capture its location with a camera.
Have subject stand on silicone "insole" (insole has three spots that vibrate)
Have the subject adjust the level of mechanical vibration till they can barely feel it.
Reduce the amount of vibration to 90% of what the subject reported being able to feel.
Subject should no longer be able to tell if vibration is off or on; Test can now proceed "blinded".
Randomly turn the vibration ON or OFF for a period of time.
Repeat 20 times for "youths" 10 times for elderly.
Measure how much the dot on subject's shoulder moves:
With vibration ON
With vibration OFF
Young people sway about 75% as much as old people
Young and old people show a 10% decrease in swaying with the devices on. (The amount of "swept area" the dot moves through decreased by ~10% for old and young on average).
THEORY on how/why it works FOLLOWS:
The vibration supplies some of the activation energy required for motor neuron firing. With vibration on, the body feels/reacts to the actual swaying "faster".
Applications to skiing/sport: None directly from this study. Dynamic balance wasn't tested, and the improvement in static balance doesn't seem to actually change quality of life for people (the absolute amount of sway measured wasn't very high to begin with...).
@beyond - you have any insight here?