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Texas Tech Researchers Create Fall-Risk Early Warning System

David Ramos, Getty Images

Researchers at Texas Tech have created a new early warning system for people that have a risk of falling.

The prototype wireless sensor, which is small enough to be clipped to a belt, can predict when a person might fall, perhaps even days in advance.

The sensor analyzes a person’s posture and gait, and sends an alert when there is a break in their normal routine.

“The concern is significant because a simple fall could prove deadly,” said Donald Lie, Keh-Shew Lu Regents Chair Professor in the Department of Texas Tech, and adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery at the Tech Health Sciences Center.

“The alert may be attributed to muscular or visionary changes, or even due to drug interaction,” said Lie.

According to Tech, the first step is to build a database of the person’s normal movements, which include standing up and sitting. Variations on their normal movements can indicate instability, and can warn that a fall may be coming.

This technology may not only benefit the geriatric community, but also patients that have balance issues from Parkinson’s, epilepsy, or dementia.

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