How to prevent falls in elderly people? In February 2022, Sébastien Guérard, president of the French Federation of rehabilitative masseurs-physiotherapists, proposed, in an article published in the newspaper The world“to include this prevention in the major national health priorities”.
“In the elderly, it is common to fall”
That same month, the government launched a national anti-fall plan among this population with accidents responsible for 12,000 premature deaths per year.
“In the elderly, it is common to fall. 15 to 30% of falls for those over 65, and 50% for those over 85,” recalls the Saint-Etienne University Hospital which, based on this observation, has initiated, in collaboration with the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, a research program on these falls.
An angle measurement as an indicator of fall risk
“Many factors favor them, walking and balance disorders. During normal walking, the shoulders move in coordination with the pelvis at a certain angle. We believe that this angle is reduced in subjects with an abnormality of coordination between the pelvis and the shoulders. »
“During this study, we will look at the modification of the angles and synchronization between the shoulders and the pelvis of people,” explains Etienne Ojardias, doctor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Saint-Etienne University Hospital. An observation which involves the installation, at the level of the pelvises and shoulders of two sensors, two small plastic boxes designed by the School of Mines.
“Analyzing the position of these two sensors, one in relation to the other, will make it possible to measure a different angle between patients who have fallen and others who have not fallen. » This angle measurement called belt separation would then be an indicator of fall risk.
Two visits required
To carry out this study, the University Hospital requires the participation of volunteers aged over 75 and able to go to the hospital to undergo the two visits scheduled as part of this work.
The first, lasting three hours, will be held in the clinical gerontology department within the Charité site during which the subject will undergo a medical consultation with taking constants, cardio-respiratory examination, evaluation of memory functioning, the capacity for orientation, the autonomy of the subject.
Data will also be collected on height, weight variation over one year, medical history, pathologies from which the volunteer suffers, their treatments, and their physical activity. Hand measurements will also be taken using a dynanometer.
For their second visit, the volunteers will be expected at the physical medicine and rehabilitation department of Bellevue hospital, where they will have to carry out a ten-meter walking test in two ways. During this test, different parameters will be measured, walking speed, cadence and step cycle times evaluated with a treadmill.
The objective of this work is to obtain an “objective evaluation of a fall indicator allowing a diagnosis to be made and better care for people at risk of falling”. Thanks to this work, participants will better understand the quality of their walking.
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