Why Am I Clumsy: Dr. Jim Buskirk Reveals The Science Behind Clumsiness


Today Show: Why Am I Clumsy?

Researchers have starting to work on answering the question: why am I clumsy? If you have ever found yourself bumping into coffee tables or tripping over your feet a little too regularly, these researchers want to find out why. Is there science behind clumsiness?

According to one recent study, about 1/3 of us are accident prone, more so than others. Dr. Buzz Swanigan, the head of a team of engineers at the University of Delaware,  investigated what’s happening in the brains of accident-prone people. They found that these people can’t make a plan for what’s going to happen next. Within .1 or .2 of a second, they are fairly vulnerable to their surrounding environment.


Today: Dr. Jim Buskirk

These fractions of a second can wreak havoc on anyone, including professional athletes. Kevin Dahl, a professional hockey player, has noticed that his eyes don’t catch up to the things that he wants to do physically, and is currently recovering from a concussion.

Why Am I Clumsy: Jim Buskirk Reveals The Science Behind Clumsiness

Scientists have banded together to answer a question that plagues the accident-prone: why am I clumsy?

Kevin Dahl went through two months of physical therapy with Jim Buskirk, and is nearly fully recovered. Jim believes that the same therapy he used to help Kevin can be used to help cure common clumsiness, so Savannah Guthrie, known to be quite clumsy, went it to see if he can help her out.


Today Show: Clumsiness, Equilibrium & Balance

Kevin started by running Savannah through diagnostics that tracked her vision, equilibrium, and spacial awareness. He watched her eyes as they react to movement. Next up, electrodes measure her inner ear and balance. The most challenging test was saved for last, and involved a moving platform. There were five tests in all, and Savannah failed every single one.

What this means is that she has an equilibrium and balance processing problem, where she can’t do one thing at a time because things aren’t being processed correctly. These miscalculations are manifested in, well, clumsiness. Thankfully, Jim Buskirk said that he could design a program to help Savannah get better, and that she has very little to worry about because she doesn’t have a job that required coordination.


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