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Geriatrician finds senior's gait a sign of what's to come

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso can predict future mobility problems just by measuring how fast an elderly person walks. Its a simple test that can reveal the future risk for falls, fractures, and balance issues, even in seemingly healthy seniors. Now as the first recipient of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistrys Clinician-Scientist Award at The University of Western Ontario, Montero-Odasso will receive up to $200,000 a year for three years to allow him to devote more time to this important research.

This is an amazing opportunity which will allow me to better pursue my research objectives and to expand my expertise in the area of gait, mobility and falls in older adults. says Montero-Odasso. It will also help me to create a leading research area on gait and cognition which may translate in innovative interventions and treatments for our seniors with mobility and cognitive problems.

Montero-Odasso is a professor in the Department of Medicine at The University of Western Ontario, working in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Victoria Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre and Parkwood Hospital, St Josephs Health Care, London. Hes also an associate scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute.

Knowing how debilitating falls and fractures can be, Montero-Odasso measured the gait velocity of more than a hundred high-functioning people over the age of 75. Two years later he did a follow-up and found those with a slow gait had higher incidents of hospitalization, required a caregiver or nursing home, and had more falls, fractures and death. He hopes this research will help physicians detect and prevent mobility problems in their older patients.

Montero-Odasso is also studying people with mild cognitive impairment to see whether subtle changes in the way they walk is linked to any decline to dementia. It was also just announced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) that Montero-Odasso has been awarded a $70,000 grant for a pilot project to study the effect of vitamin D on muscle and mobility in frail older persons.

The goal of our Clinician-Scientist Award program is to recruit clinical faculty members with high potential for research leadership, and to provide mentoring to make sure they reach their potential, says Dr. Carol Herbert, Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The School congratulates Manuel on being selected for this highly competitive award.


Contact: Kathy Wallis
519-661-2111 x81136
University of Western Ontario

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