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New test may predict Parkinson's patient falls

New test may predict Parkinson's patient falls
25th June 2010

Scientists believe they have made some progress towards predicting the likelihood of Parkinson's patients having a fall.

Researchers combined two main tests of symptoms common to Parkinson's disease patients and found they were able to predict falls with 78 per cent sensitivity.

The tests questioned participants about how often they experienced a "freeze" while walking, in addition to a test of balance.

Findings published in the American Academy of Neurology journal revealed that falls could be predicted with a 78 per cent sensitivity and 84 per cent specificity.

The majority of Parkinson's patients taking part in the study had a type that affected voluntary movements. A total of 48 per cent of participants had a fall during the six-month study.

Commenting on the findings, Queensland University professor and study author Graham Kerr said: "These tests are easy to implement and take only a short time to complete.

"Once we can identify those at risk of falling, we can take steps to try to prevent these falls."

Research by the Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife published earlier this week indicated that being barefoot in the home could contribute to falls among elderly patients.

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