Volunteers needed to take part in falls study

Posted on Thursday 28th October 2010

Researchers at the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences are looking for volunteers to take part in a study examining the effects of age, physical frailty and cognitive decline, on where we look when walking.

The study aims to explore changes in cognition - the process of being aware, knowing, thinking, learning and judging - which might account for the changes in where we look as people age, and may be a contributory factor in falls in people aged 65 and over.

Previous laboratory studies show older people and higher-risk fallers, usually those aged 65 and over, show different patterns of looking, known as gaze behaviour, to the patterns of younger adults.

Dr Mark Hollands, Director of the Human Movement Laboratory, said: ‘The study will enable us to identify changes in frail older adults. Looking behaviour might help to explain why they have an increased risk of falling.’

Volunteers will be asked to complete computer-based cognitive tests and perform a series of tasks testing eyesight and balance before watching some specially designed films while their gaze behaviour is recorded. The session will last between two and three hours and will take place take place at the Human Movement Laboratory in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Participant must be aged 65 and over and have experienced a fall in the past year. Anyone wanting to take part or to find out more should contact Jennifer Stanley on 0121 414 5315 email: jxs833@bham.ac.uk

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Notes to Editors: 

Exclusion criteria for participants:  

Participants must not have any neurological complications such as a stroke, Parkinson's or Alzheimers, or eye problems such as glaucoma or age-related macula degeneration.

Further media information:

Kali Tiwana, University of Birmingham Press Office, tel: 0121 414 6029