Numerous postural sway metrics have been shown to be sensitive to balance impairment and fall risk in individuals with MS. Yet, there are no guidelines concerning the most appropriate postural sway metrics to monitor impairment. This investigation implemented a machine learning approach to assess the accuracy and feature importance of various postural sway metrics to differentiate individuals with MS from healthy controls as a function of physiological fall risk. 153 participants (50 controls and 103 individuals with MS) underwent a static posturography assessment and a physiological fall risk assessment. Participants were further classified into four subgroups based on fall risk: controls, low-risk MS (n = 34), moderate-risk MS (n = 27), high-risk MS (n = 42). Twenty common sway metrics were derived following standard procedures and subsequently used to train a machine learning algorithm (random forest – RF, with 10-fold cross validation) to predict individuals’ fall risk grouping. The sway-metric based RF classifier had high accuracy in discriminating controls from MS individuals (>86%). Sway sample entropy was identified as the strongest feature for classification of low-risk MS individuals from healthy controls. Whereas for all other comparisons, mediolateral sway amplitude was identified as the strongest predictor for fall risk groupings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas