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Research model may one day 'inoculate' elderly against slip-related falls
Date:2/4/2009

e authors concluded. These changes give the body greater stability when a slip begins to occur. In addition, the study found that with one session of such training, the brain pre-programs a response to slipping that can be drawn upon quickly to stop a slip or a fall, or even to skate-over the slippery surface without losing balance.

Fall training may be particularly helpful for active elderly persons who put themselves in more challenging situations. Fall prevention training may cut down on hip fractures, surgery, rehabilitation and pain and suffering.

So far, the research team has used younger subjects because the experiments carry some risk of injury. But in one study also funded by National Institutes of Health, the researchers found that older adults were able to learn as quickly as young adults. Further research is now being conducted to find out if older adults can retain the training as well as the young.

Pai and Bhatt's research so far indicates that the effects of one such training session, as with an inoculation, should last for at least for four months, and perhaps much longer, to protect against one of most dangerous falls, the backward falls.


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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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