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Finding those most at risk of falls

A new study from MS Research Australia-supported researchers Dr Phu Hoang and Professor Stephen Lord, along with international research groups from Sweden, the UK, and the USA, are joining forces to bring together the most comprehensive analysis of falls data in MS.

By combining the findings from separate research groups, the researchers assessed falls risk across a wide range of ages and disease severity levels, allowing them to determine which illness-related and demographic factors may most strongly influence the risk of falling.

They combined data from 537 individuals who had reported 1,721 falls during the study period. The findings describe a range of characteristics that were associated with the falls: most falls occurred inside, between key daytime hours (6am-6pm). They also found that the risk of falls was lower in women than in men.

Importantly, they identified that the risk of falls actually declined with age, and also was not directly associated with the level of illness-related disability. This suggests that MS severity may not be specifically predictive of a person’s risk of falling, and highlights the importance of taking care and using a walking aid where necessary. The authors suggest that the younger age group may be related to a higher falls risk as the older people typically use more caution and avoid potentially risky activity.

If you feel you may need assistance with mobility or may be at risk of falling, please contact your state MS society for more information.

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Finding those most at risk of falls