Reality Based Multisystem Balance Assessment in the Aged

Period of Performance: 09/30/1995 - 06/30/1996

Unknown

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Brookside Research &development Company
North Salem, NY 10560
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This project addresses the pressing need for sensitive and predictive measures to identify elderly individuals at risk for falling, thereby facilitating early intervention to prevent the human and societal costs of devastating fall-related injuries. Multisystem balance assessment (MsBA) is a novel, convenient, cost-effective method to evaluate an individuals' functional capabilities in real-life situations. Simulated real-life environmental challenges are presented to subjects undergoing examination by moving platform posturography. Unlike existing balance assessment systems, the design and use of the device incorporate manifold psychophysiological elements and environmental factors that impact ability to function optimally in daily life. Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of this unique approach. Phase II will refine key system elements, then incorporate the device in stationary and mobile prototype clinics. Preliminary clinical trials will evaluate the ability of MsBA to predict outcome of intervention in high-risk groups, and educational and training materials for clinicians will be completed. Phase III will explore market potential and commercialize the system. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: This technology will provide the first multisystem approach to balance assessment based on virtual-reality technology. An innovative technique is under development to evaluate responses to simulations of actual situations in which the elderly experience functional instability. The stationary form of this technology will allow clinics nationwide to offer this unique primary care tool; mobile clinics will benefit the ever-increasing numbers of institutionalized elderly.