A third of people over 65 years experiences at least one fall a year. The Timed Up-and-Go test is commonly used to assess gait and balance and to evaluate an individual’s risk of falling.
We conducted a clinical study with 46 older participants for evaluating the fall risk assessment capabilities of an ultra-sound based Timed Up-and-Go test device. The fall protocols over a period of one year were used to classify participants as fallers and non-fallers. For frailty evaluation, state-of-the-art questionnaires were used. Fall recordings were compared to six Timed Up-and-Go test measurements that were recorded in fallers and non-fallers.
Timed Up-and-Go test data were available for 39 participants (36f, age 84.2 ± 8.2, BMI 26.0 ± 5.1). 23 participants did fall at least once within the fall screening period. We fitted two different regression and probability models into a region of interest of the distance over time curve as derived from the Timed Up-and-Go device. We found that the coefficient of determination for Gaussian bell-shaped curves (p < 0.05, AUC = 0.71) and linear regression lines (p < 0.02, AUC = 0.74) significantly separated fallers from non-fallers. Subtasks of the Timed Up-and-Go test like the sit-up time showed near significance (p < 0.07, AUC = 0.67).
We found that specific features calculated from the Timed Up-and-Go distance over time curve were significantly different between fallers and non-fallers in our study population. Automatic recording and analysis of Timed Up-and-Go measurements could, therefore, reduce time of measurements and improve precision as compared to other methods currently being used in the assessments of fall risk.
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