DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - There is cutting-edge research happening inside the University of Dayton's bio-mechanics lab that may make you stand-up and take notice.
Researchers are studying how to protect senior citizens and others from falls.
"With the flooring in the nursing homes and rehabilitation centers the flooring can cause the risk of falls possibly over transitions and that's what I'd like to look at," said Renee Beach, UD graduate student.
Renee's professor, Dr. Kim Bigelow, says even a slightly uneven floor is hazardous for people who are unsteady on their feet.
"So this prevalence of falls translates to direct medical costs of billions of dollars, about 20 billion in 2000 and it's projected by 2020 to be 50 billion or more," said Dr. Bigelow.
To better protect patients, some nursing homes and rehabilitation centers "compliant" flooring. To test it, Renee puts her mom through the paces.
Renee is looking to answer 2 critical questions. "Although the flooring prevents injuries from falls, does it incur more falls among an elderly population."
Renee's late father also inspires her. He had a brain injury, and had a very hard time walking safely. "My father was going through rehabilitation at the time, walking from a concrete floor to a tile floor to a mat to carpet and to compliant flooring and I saw with those transitions he was struggling with his balance and do these transitions really affect his balance in a greater way and really alter his balance as he walks across them so that's kinda how I came up with the idea."
An idea deemed so valuable that the prestigious National Science Foundation is funding this research for the next three years.
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