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The detrimental association between fear of falling and motor performance in older cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Kang GE, Murphy TK, Kunik ME, Badr HJ, Workeneh BT, Yellapragada SV, Sada YH, Najafi B. The detrimental association between fear of falling and motor performance in older cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Gait & posture. 2021 Jul 1; 88:161-166.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) are at increased risk of falls and developing fear of falling (FoF). Although FoF may continue to impair motor performance and increase the risk of falling even further, this association remains unexplored in CIPN. RESEARCH QUESTION: Does high FoF in patients with CIPN further deteriorate motor performance beyond the impairment from CIPN-related sensory deficits? METHODS: In this secondary analysis of data collected from two clinical trials, gait parameters during habitual walking condition and postural sway parameters during 30-second quiet standing (eye-open and eyes-closed) were compared among older participants ( = 65 years) with CIPN and high FoF (CIPN FoF+; n = 16), older participants with CIPN and low FoF (CIPN FoF-; n = 19) and normal older controls (i.e., non-cancer, non-diabetic, non-neurologic, and non-orthopedic; n = 16). We measured gait and postural sway parameters using wearable sensors (BioSensics, Newton, MA, USA), and FoF severity using the Falls Efficacy Scale-International. RESULTS: The largest between-group differences were found in gait speed. The CIPN FoF + group had significantly slower gait speed (0.78 ± 0.21 m/s) than the CIPN FoF- (0.93 ± 0.17 m/s) and normal control groups (1.17 ± 0.13 m/s) (all p < .05; effect sizes = 0.79 and 2.23, respectively). We found a significant association between gait speed and FoF severity (R2 = 0.356; p < .001) across all participants with CIPN. Among participants with CIPN, no significant differences in postural sway parameters were found between the CIPN FoF+and CIPN FoF- groups. SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that gait performance further deteriorates in patients with CIPN and high FoF beyond the impairment from CIPN-related sensory deficits. Our results also suggest further research is needed regarding FoF, and fall risk, as FoF is a simple tool that healthcare providers can use in clinical practice.





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