Each year, millions of people--especially those 65 and older--fall. Such falls can be serious, leading to broken bones, head injuries, hospitalizations or even death. Now, researchers from the Sinclair School of Nursing and the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri found that sensors that measure in-home gait speed and stride length can predict likely falls. This technology can assist health providers to detect changes and intervene before a fall occurs within a three-week period.
"We have developed a non-wearable sensor system that can measure walking patterns in the home, including gait speed and stride length," said Marjorie Skubic, director of the MU Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology and professor of electrical and computer engineering. "Assessment of these functions through the use of sensor technology is improving coordinated health care for older adults"
To predict falls, researchers used data collected from sensor systems at TigerPlace, an innovative aging-in-place retirement residence, located in Columbia, Mo. The system generated images and an alert email for nurses indicating when irregular motion was detected. This information could be used to assist nurses in assessing functional decline, providing treatment and preventing falls.
"Aging should not mean that an adult suddenly loses his or her independence," said Marilyn Rantz, Curators' Professor Emerita of Nursing. "However, for many older adults the risk of falling impacts how long seniors can remain independent. Being able to predict that a person is at risk of falling will allow caretakers to intervene with the necessary care to help seniors remain independent as long as possible."
Results from an analysis of the sensor system data found that a gait speed decline of 5 centimeters per second was associated with an 86.3 percent probability of falling within the following three weeks. Researchers also found that shortened stride length was associated with a 50.6 percent probability of falling within the next three weeks.
Additional research led by Rantz and Skubic recently received an award from Mather LifeWays ® Institute on Aging. Their research has found that by integrating care coordination and sensor technology at TigerPlace, residents are able to live independently on average of four years compared to the national average of 22 months.
"Using embedded sensors in independent living to predict gait changes and falls," recently was published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research. Future research on the sensor systems will focus on how nurses can best use the fall prediction statistics to intervene before the fall occurs. Contributing to the study were MU researchers Lorraine Phillips, Chelsea DeRoche, Gregory Alexander, Laurel Despins, Carmen Abbott, Bradford Harris, Colleen Galambos and Richelle Koopman. Research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RO1NR014255). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agency.
Sheena Rice | EurekAlert!
Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology
Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences