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Neurological Disorders Channel
Reported June 24, 2010

Tests Predict Parkinson's Falls

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A group of tests may predict which people afflicted with Parkinson's disease are more likely to stumble and fall.

More than 100 people with Parkinson's were chosen for the study, on the condition that they must be able to walk without any aide. Participants then took a variety of tests evaluating their symptoms, balance and mobility. 

A total of 48 percent of the participants reported a fall during the six-month post-evaluation period, and 24 percent had more than one fall. A total of 42 percent reported that they had fallen in the year before the study started.

The tests that were the best predictors of whether a person was likely to fall included a test of overall Parkinson's symptoms, a questionnaire on how often people tended to "freeze" while walking, and a test of balance. When these tests were combined, the results produced a sensitivity of 78 percent and a specificity of 84 percent for predicting falls.

"Falls are a major problem for people with Parkinson's disease and can lead to injuries and reduced mobility, which can result in increasing weakness, loss of independence and increased use of nursing homes," study authors were quoted as saying. "Despite these issues and their impact on the health care system and society, little research has been done to help predict which people with Parkinson's disease are more likely to fall, so we can try to prevent these falls."

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SOURCE: Neurology, June 23, 2010


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