Sir—Falls are relatively common among older people; ∼30% of 65-year-old community-dwelling adults experience at least one fall per year. Of these falls, 6% result in fractures. Falls typically occur during locomotion; therefore, previous studies have focused on identifying the changes in locomotor performance which occur with increasing age.
In every-day life, locomotion typically occurs under complicated circumstances with cognitive attention focused on other tasks. Lundin-Olsson et al. reported a novel method for predicting falls based on the dual-task (DT) performance of subjects. In recent years, numerous studies have evaluated DT walking in elderly people. However, Beauchet et al. reported that reliable conclusions cannot be drawn from the prediction of falls based on DT results due to the lack of standardisation in DT paradigms. We considered that the two main limitations of the previous research using DT protocols were: (i) insufficient evaluation of the performance of the secondary task and (ii) the lack of standardisation of the DT protocols.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the use of a Smartphone-based application for assessing dual-tasking ability as a tool for predicting the risk of falls in a community-dwelling elderly population.
Yamada M, Aoyama T, Okamoto K, Nagai K, Tanaka B, Takemura T. Using a Smartphone while walking: a measure of dual-tasking ability as a falls risk assessment tool. Age Ageing. 2011 Jul;40(4):516-9.