Thesis topic proposal
Diagnostic and therapeutic methods in physiotherapy to prevent age-related functional decline and maintain independent living


Institute: Semmelweis University, Budapest
general health sciences
Doctoral School of Pathological Sciences

Thesis supervisor: Éva Kovács
Location of studies (in Hungarian): SE
Abbreviation of location of studies: SE

Description of the research topic:

Nowadays the proportion of older people accounts for 20 percentage of the total population. By 2050, this proportion will increase to 32 percentages. As the population ages, the number of individuals with disability and dependence is expected to increase.
At the same time, there is a great deal of evidence showing that independence is influenced by static and dynamic balancing abilities, muscle strength, walking ability, and aerobic endurance.
Accordingly, several geriatric movement programmes have been developed that aim at improving the aforementioned abilities.
Fundamentally, the earlier we involve elderly people at risk, the more effective these programmes become.
Firstly, therefore, it is essential to have valid and reliable measurement tools to assess the above-mentioned functional abilities of the elderly. Secondly, based on the results of these assessments, it is also important to involve those found to be at risk in regular movement programmes as soon as possible.
The aims of our research are as follows:
1. to carry out cross-sectional studies among institutionalised and community-living older adults with the aim of assessing the main psychometric characteristics of widespread geriatric measuring methods: namely test-retest reliability, absolute reliability, internal consistency, structural, convergent, and discriminative validity are planned to be observed in various functional tests and questionnaires;
2. to conduct retrospective and prospective studies in order to reveal the short-term and long-term effects of uni- and multimodal geriatric movement programmes on balance, functional mobility, kinematic parameters of gait, muscle strength of the lower limb, and aerobic endurance;
3. to assess the feasibility of low- and moderate-intensity physical activity programmes published in geriatric literature or developed in Hungary among middle-aged and elderly people.

Data collection and measurements are conducted in nursing homes providing long-term care. In studies conducted among community-living older people, participants are recruited through advertisements in local newspapers and with the help of flyers spread in senior centres, religious communities located in Budapest, as well as settlements of the Budapest metropolitan area.
Data on sociodemographic background, physical examination outcomes, and overall health condition are obtained from medical histories, face-to-face interviews, and questionnaire-based inquiries. Balance, functional mobility, gait kinematic parameters, muscle strength, as well as aerobic endurance are measured with clinical tests or by means of biomechanical measuring devices, in the Biomechanical Laboratory owned by Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University.

Deadline for application: 2020-12-06

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