A new medical study revealed that the inability to balance on one leg for a certain amount of time may be an indicator of brain-related problems, according to Press Association.
The researchers of the study noted that this physical ability may show signs that an individual is at risk of suffering from silent strokes or dementia.
The study was conducted by asking a total of 1,387 male and female participants, who are over 60 years old, to stand on one leg for a whole minute. The physical test was conducted twice and the researchers used the best or longest time of each test participant.
For the second part of the study, the subjects' brain conditions were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging or MRI technology. This was done to search for signs of damages in the participants' brain arteries.
The researchers discovered that many of the participants who had troubling balancing on one leg showed signs of brain-related problems.
According to lead researcher Dr. Yasaharu Tabara of Japan's Kyoto University, the ability to balance is controlled by the brain. When certain types of diseases damage the brain's arteries, blood flow can become restricted, Medical News Today reported.
This can then interfere with the brain's ability to send signals to different regions of the body.
"One-leg standing time is a simple measure of postural instability and might be a consequence of the presence of brain abnormalities," Tabara said in a statement.
Tabara noted in the study that these abnormalities may lead to silent strokes which may eventually develop into major strokes and dementia.
"Our study found that the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health," he said.
"Individuals showing poor balance on one leg should receive increased attention, as this may indicate an increased risk for brain disease and cognitive decline," Tabara added.
The findings of Tabara and his research team were presented in a report published by the online health journal Stroke on Dec. 18.