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When doctors do their jobs, the elderly fall less

Yuk. A study in today’s NY Times reports that percentage of elderly people who fall drops by 11% if the doctor actually asks them if they are prone to falls — then takes their blood pressure lying down and standing, treats it properly, and then reduces their other medication. How ironic that the doctor who did the study notes she can’t estimate the cost of this ‘prevention’ program because it ought to be part of standard care. Exactly. So — in the absence of standard care, falls among the elderly account for 10% of emergency room visits and 6% of hospitalizations for those 65 and older. Thus is born the market for fall detection offerings — like Intel’s research and future product offering. Where there’s a lack of will, there’s a way.

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New from MIT research -- the ishoe, riginally part of a prgoram designed to test balance in astronauts, is being tested in the elderly to detect balance problems that could serve as a warning to doctors. Erez Lieberman, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology who developed the technology as an intern at NASA.  Not a product yet -- will no doubt contribute at some point to the risk reduction and prevention information linkages between patients and doctors.