How to improve postural sway among abstinent alcoholics

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Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): Postural instability during quiet standing is a common and significant consequence of chronic alcoholism, even after prolonged sobriety. Now, researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine suggest this excessive sway can be improved up to a point.

Excessive sway, even after prolonged sobriety, can lead to fall-related injury and even death.

"Caricatures depict acutely intoxicated individuals with a stumbling, weaving, wobbly gait," said Edith V. Sullivan, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study.

"With sobriety, gait and balance become stable. However, even with prolonged sobriety, people with long-term chronic alcohol dependence can have difficulty in standing upright.

"Their balance can be marked by sway that exceeds what most of us experience while standing still in one place, especially with feet together and hands down by one's side, that is, without use of natural stabilizing factors," Sullivan added.

The research team used a "force platform" to measure postural sway - with and without stabilizing conditions from touch, vision and stance - in 34 alcoholic men, 15 alcoholic women, 22 control men, and 29 control women.

They then analysed "biomechanical control mechanisms" that indicate skeletomuscular control over balance, which - under normal circumstances - means the muscles, joints, and skeletal structure are working synergistically, in a give-and-take manner.

"Results show the sway paths of alcoholics are longer and cover a wider area than those of controls for a given time," said Sullivan.

"However, it is important to note that the standing stability of sober alcoholics can be improved by using stabilizing factors.

"These factors can include simple aids like turning a light on in a dark room, touching a banister while walking down a flight of stairs, or walking or standing with feet apart rather than with ankles close together," she added.

The study appears in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. (ANI)

|'Avatar' trailer attracts 4.7m views|Entertainment[Melbourne{Melbourne, December 19 (ANI): Director James Cameron's new film 'Avatar' may be on its way to become a massive hit, as the film's online trailers have attracted a total of 4.7 million views so far.

The epic 3D blockbuster witnessed an increase of 109 per cent in the trailers viewer ship on the net just a week before the release of the film, reports Variety.

Speculators feel that the movie's trailer will surpass total viewing figures for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7.4 million), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (5.9 million), reports the Daily Telegraph.

Australian actor Sam Worthington is the lead star of the film. (ANI)

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