A Rebalancing Act

Seniors Daily Exercise

Dr. Brian Dalton, Assistant Professor, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, UBC Okanagan

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN EIGHT AND 18 MONTHS, babies take their own small step for humankind—those first wobbly plods into a parent’s arms. This giant leap for their developing brains is still barely understood by science—a marvel of neurons and the nervous system that we usually take for granted throughout our lives.

But the final frontier of health science might just be our understanding of what maintains our balance as we age.

As a teen growing up in Newfoundland, Dr. Brian Dalton—now an Assistant Professor of neuromuscular physiology at UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences—noticed something happening to his grandmother Grace.

She lived with the Dalton family for years, and the two were close. But, beginning in her mid-60s, she swayed, stumbled and felt dizzy. She was losing her ability to stay upright.

At university, Dr. Dalton took a kinesiology elective that triggered memories of his grandmother and stoked a desire to discover why her mobility and balance faltered. When he joined UBCO in 2016—with a PhD in kinesiology and a postdoctoral fellowship under his belt—Dr. Dalton started the university’s SPIN (Sensorimotor Physiology and Integrative Neuromechanics) Lab.

The primary aim of the lab is to answer two questions: what exactly causes older adults to lose their sense of balance? And what can be done to stave off the erosion of that critical human function?

Read the full story here: UBC Okanagan News