TUESDAY, June 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2000 to 2016, an increase was observed in mortality from falls for seniors; however, a home-based exercise program can reduce subsequent falls among older adults, according to research published in the June 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a research letter, Klaas A. Hartholt, M.D., Ph.D., from the Reinier de Graaf Groep in Delft, Netherlands, and colleagues reported trends in mortality from falls for the U.S. population aged 75 years and older from 2000 and 2016 using data extracted from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System mortality files. The researchers identified an increase in the absolute number of deaths from falls from 8,613 in 2000 to 25,189 in 2016. From 2000 to 2016, the crude mortality rate increased from 51.6 to 122.2 per 100,000 persons. Age-adjusted mortality rates increased significantly from 60.7 to 116.4 per 100,000 men and from 46.3 to 105.9 per 100,000 women from 2000 to 2016.

Teresa Liu-Ambrose, P.T., Ph.D., from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned adults aged at least 70 years who had a fall within the previous 12 months to receive either usual care plus a home-based strength and balance retraining exercise program or usual care provided by a geriatrician. The researchers identified 236 falls among 172 participants in the exercise group and 366 falls among 172 participants in the usual-care group. The estimated incidence rates of falls was 1.4 versus 2.1 per person-year, respectively.

“Substantial improvements in fall prevention among older adults can be achieved both from initiatives for the general public and clinicians’ interventions to enhance prevention and treatment,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Abstract/Full Text – Hartholt (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract/Full Text – Liu-Ambrose (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

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