The beam balance test (or beam walking assay) is used to assess fine motor coordination and balance in rodents, especially in experimental models associated with an alteration of the motor skills (brain injury, genetic manipulations, and/or pharmacological treatments…).
The goal of this test is for the subject to stay upright and walk across an elevated narrow beam to a safe box/platform. This test usually takes several consecutive days of test: some days of training and 1 day of testing. Performance on the beam is quantified by measuring the time it takes for the subject to cross the beam and the number of paw slips that occur in the process.
This task is particularly useful for detecting subtle deficits in motor skills and balance that may not be detected by other motor tests, such as the Rotarod.
The Panlab beam balance test is composed of:
- A goal box (15 cm wide, 22 cm deep, 18 cm high)
- 2 tripods - adjustable height from 50 to 130 cm and with built-in level to check horizontality
- 4 ledge tapered beams (120 cm long) with following width dimensions:
- 0.5 cm upper beam width on 2.2 cm bottom beam width
- 2 cm upper beam width on 4 cm bottom beam width
- 1.5 cm upper beam width on 5.5 cm bottom beam width
- 6 cm upper beam width on 10 cm bottom beam width
The beam can be horizontal or the tripods height can be adjusted to make a slope.
The goal box and beams are easy to remove/assemble using manual screws below the beam.