Test Aims to Identify Risk of Falls for Elderly

Associated Press

The physical examination, which identifies illnesses and disabilities, is almost useless for predicting how well the elderly can function in daily life, said Dr. Mary Tinetti of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Falls, for example, a serious hazard to the elderly, are usually caused by interaction of many factors, from poor vision to depression, she said.

She has developed and is currently evaluating a fast, simple, "balance and gait" test to identify those at risk of falling. If proved effective, the test may be included in the physical examination.

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