Maintaining an upright stance involves a complex interaction of sensory processing and motor outputs to adequately perform this fundamental motor skill. Aging and cannabis use independently disrupt balance performance, but our recent data did not find differences in static balance performance between older cannabis Users and older Non-Users using traditional linear measures (i.e., characteristics of the center of pressure sway). The purpose of this analysis was to determine whether an unbiased entropy measure (sample entropy) can differentiate postural control (standing posture) strategies between older cannabis Users and Non-Users when typical linear measures could not.
Eight medical cannabis Users and eight age- and sex-matched controls completed static posturography testing in an eyes-open condition for 60 s. Linear measures included pathlength of the anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions and an ellipse that encapsulates 95% of the 2D area explored. The nonlinear measure was the sample entropy of the center of pressure time-series in anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions. Group comparisons were accomplished via pairwise testing and effect size calculations.
The statistical testing revealed that sample entropy in the anterior-posterior direction was significantly larger in the Users (mean ± SD = 0.29 ± 0.08) compared to the Non-Users (0.19 ± 0.05; P = 0.01, d = 1.55).
This finding indicates that the Users had a decreased regularity of their center of pressure signal in the anterior-posterior direction, which might reflect reduced balance adaptability and accompanies the increased fall risk observed in our recent report on these same subjects.

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