No, it’s not a prank or, God forbid, the next phase of The Knockout Game. But senior citizens are being tripped on purpose…and all for a good cause.
Researchers in Chicago are currently studying ways to prevent falling, which is the leading cause of injury among the eldery. Those spills can cost up to $30 billion annually and can lead to other health and disability problems that are far worse. In the past, the only way to combat the problem was through exercise regimens to boost balance and strength. But over at the University of Illinois, they’re doing things quite a bit differently.
A walkway was initially built in the research lab that causes people to randomly trip. But don’t worry; they didn’t let any harm come to Grandma. That soon led to computerized treadmills, with the goal being to design devices that could be placed in clinics and physical therapy centers that would “teach” seniors how to avoid falling.
“This is all implicit learning. We don’t give any instruction,” said Clive Pai, one of the physical therapy professors heading up the study. “They don’t have to be motivated – they’re naturally motivated because they don’t want to be on the floor.”
Pai’s studies have shown that just 24 tiny “trips” in one session on the walkway can help reduce the chances of falling by as much as 50 percent. Still, if you’re an elderly person interested in the research, be prepared to have sensors taped to your arms and legs for analysis, as well as getting wired into a harness to keep you upright.
And, of course, be aware that some falls simply can’t be prevented:
Well, the whole ordeal may seem a bit excessive with its wires, sensors, and weird looking contraptions, but it sounds like the research is paying off.
You can read more about the study in The New York Post.
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.
Send this to friend