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The effects of breath alcohol concentration on postural control.
Traffic Inj Prev 2018; 19(4):352-357TI

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Two of the 3 standardized field sobriety tests that U.S. law enforcement uses at roadside checks have a postural equilibrium component to them. Those tests have been validated to detect impairment caused by blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.08 g/dL or above. Many medical and traffic safety associations support a lower limit, and one state, Utah, has passed a law to lower the limit to 0.05 g/dL. Many studies have examined the effects of alcohol on postural control (of which postural equilibrium is a component), with a consensus emerging that impairment is usually found at BACs greater than 0.06 g/dL. Most of these studies, however, had a relatively small number of subjects, usually between 10 and 30. The current study collected data from a much larger sample.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to provide additional evidence that posture control is negatively affected at BACs greater than 0.06 g/dL or breath alcohol concentrations (BrACs) of 0.06 g/210 L.

METHOD

This was a between-subjects study, with BrAC group as the independent variable (5 levels: 0.00, 0.04, 0.06, 0.08, and 0.10 g/210 L); 4 measures of postural control as the dependent variables; and age, height, and weight as the covariates. Posture control was measured with a force-sensing platform connected to a computer. The feet's center of pressure (CoP) on the platform was recorded and the corresponding movement of the body in the anterior-posterior and lateral planes was derived. Participants (N = 96) were randomly assigned to one of the BrAC groups. Positive BrAC groups were compared to the zero BrAC group. Data were examined with hierarchical multiple regression.

RESULTS

Adjusted for age, height, and weight, the main effect of lateral CoP with eyes open was not statistically significant. There was a statistically significant main effect of alcohol on anterior-posterior CoP excursion with eyes open and with eyes closed and lateral CoP excursion with eyes closed. For all 3 of those variables, only BrACs of 0.08 and 0.10 g/210 L produced differences against zero BrAC. Although the main effect of alcohol on Lateral CoP Excursion with eyes open was not statistically significant, the contrasts between 0 and 0.08 and 0 and 0.10 g/210L BrAC were in the hypothesized direction.

CONCLUSION

The current study did not directly address the issue of whether the sobriety tests are sensitive to BrACs of 0.05 g/210 L or above; rather, it provides additional evidence that postural control, one of the components of those tests, is relatively unaffected by BrACs lower than 0.08 g/210 L. Additional research is needed on the diagnostic characteristics of the sobriety tests at BrACs lower than 0.08 g/210 L.

Authors+Show Affiliations

a Southern California Research Institute , Van Nuys , California.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29323932

Citation

Fiorentino, Dary D.. "The Effects of Breath Alcohol Concentration On Postural Control." Traffic Injury Prevention, vol. 19, no. 4, 2018, pp. 352-357.
Fiorentino DD. The effects of breath alcohol concentration on postural control. Traffic Inj Prev. 2018;19(4):352-357.
Fiorentino, D. D. (2018). The effects of breath alcohol concentration on postural control. Traffic Injury Prevention, 19(4), pp. 352-357. doi:10.1080/15389588.2018.1423561.
Fiorentino DD. The Effects of Breath Alcohol Concentration On Postural Control. Traffic Inj Prev. 2018 05 19;19(4):352-357. PubMed PMID: 29323932.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The effects of breath alcohol concentration on postural control. A1 - Fiorentino,Dary D, Y1 - 2018/03/20/ PY - 2018/1/13/pubmed PY - 2019/6/1/medline PY - 2018/1/12/entrez KW - Alcohol KW - alcohol pharmacodynamics KW - postural control KW - postural equilibrium KW - postural orientation SP - 352 EP - 357 JF - Traffic injury prevention JO - Traffic Inj Prev VL - 19 IS - 4 N2 - BACKGROUND: Two of the 3 standardized field sobriety tests that U.S. law enforcement uses at roadside checks have a postural equilibrium component to them. Those tests have been validated to detect impairment caused by blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.08 g/dL or above. Many medical and traffic safety associations support a lower limit, and one state, Utah, has passed a law to lower the limit to 0.05 g/dL. Many studies have examined the effects of alcohol on postural control (of which postural equilibrium is a component), with a consensus emerging that impairment is usually found at BACs greater than 0.06 g/dL. Most of these studies, however, had a relatively small number of subjects, usually between 10 and 30. The current study collected data from a much larger sample. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to provide additional evidence that posture control is negatively affected at BACs greater than 0.06 g/dL or breath alcohol concentrations (BrACs) of 0.06 g/210 L. METHOD: This was a between-subjects study, with BrAC group as the independent variable (5 levels: 0.00, 0.04, 0.06, 0.08, and 0.10 g/210 L); 4 measures of postural control as the dependent variables; and age, height, and weight as the covariates. Posture control was measured with a force-sensing platform connected to a computer. The feet's center of pressure (CoP) on the platform was recorded and the corresponding movement of the body in the anterior-posterior and lateral planes was derived. Participants (N = 96) were randomly assigned to one of the BrAC groups. Positive BrAC groups were compared to the zero BrAC group. Data were examined with hierarchical multiple regression. RESULTS: Adjusted for age, height, and weight, the main effect of lateral CoP with eyes open was not statistically significant. There was a statistically significant main effect of alcohol on anterior-posterior CoP excursion with eyes open and with eyes closed and lateral CoP excursion with eyes closed. For all 3 of those variables, only BrACs of 0.08 and 0.10 g/210 L produced differences against zero BrAC. Although the main effect of alcohol on Lateral CoP Excursion with eyes open was not statistically significant, the contrasts between 0 and 0.08 and 0 and 0.10 g/210L BrAC were in the hypothesized direction. CONCLUSION: The current study did not directly address the issue of whether the sobriety tests are sensitive to BrACs of 0.05 g/210 L or above; rather, it provides additional evidence that postural control, one of the components of those tests, is relatively unaffected by BrACs lower than 0.08 g/210 L. Additional research is needed on the diagnostic characteristics of the sobriety tests at BrACs lower than 0.08 g/210 L. SN - 1538-957X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29323932/The_effects_of_breath_alcohol_concentration_on_postural_control_ L2 - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15389588.2018.1423561 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -