New falls risk research afoot

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There are many common risk factors associated with falls: reduced strength, balance difficulty, vision problems, and use of multiple medications are a few. But researchers in Boston are turning their attention to lesser known and often misunderstood risks.

A new study is being launched that will track 765 seniors aged 70 and over and analyze how pain, blood flow in the brain and foot problems affect their risk of falls. Researchers have so far conducted interviews with the study participants and administered physical evaluations. Participants will independently report falls by marking a calendar postcard and returning it to the researchers.

Understanding these potentially important risk factors could lead to new methods of falls prevention among the elderly, researchers say.