Romberg's test or the Romberg maneuver is a test used in an exam of neurological function, and also as a test for drunken driving. The exam is based on the premise that a person requires at least two of the three following senses to maintain balance while standing: proprioception (the ability to know one's body in space); vestibular function (the ability to know one's head position in space); and vision (which can be used to monitor [and adjust for] changes in body position).
A patient who has a problem with proprioception can still maintain balance by using vestibular function and vision. In the Romberg test, the standing patient is asked to close his or her eyes. A loss of balance is interpreted as a positive Romberg's test.
The Romberg test is a test of the body's sense of positioning (proprioception), which requires healthy functioning of the dorsal columns of the spinal cord.
The Romberg test is used to investigate the cause of loss of motor coordination (ataxia). A positive Romberg test suggests that the ataxia is sensory in nature, that is, depending on loss of proprioception. If a patient is ataxic and Romberg's test is not positive, it suggests that ataxia is cerebellar in nature, that is, depending on localized cerebellar dysfunction instead.
It is used as an indicator for possible alcohol or drug impaired driving and neurological decompression sickness.When used to test impaired driving, the test is performed with the subject estimating 30 seconds in his head. This is used to gauge the subject's internal clock and can be an indicator of stimulant or depressant use.
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Romberg Test; Testing for Pronator Drift
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