Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Dodderimeter: helping to prevent falls in the elderly

Falls in the elderly are a significant cause of mobidity.

Falls in the elderly are a significant cause of mobidity.

Children are forever falling over but rarely come to harm. Falls in adults are rare but are frequently catastrophic. Indeed, they are a major cause of morbidity (and consequent mortality) and represent one of the most significant contributors to hospitalizations of the elderly in developed countries.

Fortunately, researchers at the University of New South Wales have developed a device which might help to identify those at greatest risk of falling. The latest incarnation of the device [1], for which I have coined the name, ‘dodderimeter’, measures acceleration along each of the x, y and z space axes and then uses a combination of frequency-domain and time-domain analyses of the signals to predict the likelihood of a fall. It might even become as ubiquitous as the Holter monitor.

[1] Liu, Y., Redmond, S., Wang, N., Blumenkron, F., Narayanan, M., Lovell, N. (2011). Spectral Analysis of Accelerometry Signals from a Directed-Routine for Falls-Risk Estimation. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 99, 1. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2011.2151193. [PubMed]