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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Editorial Contacts

Theresa Hays
Simbex LLC
(603) 448-2367
thays@simbex.com

 

THE DARTMOUTH INSTITUTE INVESTIGATES CLINICAL EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIVESTEP™ FALL PREVENTION TRAINING

RACE pilot study to evaluate ActiveStep® Fall Risk Reduction

Lebanon, NH - DECEMBER 10, 2008 - Researchers and clinicians at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center will lead the Randomized ActiveStep® Clinical Evaluation (RACE) study, a one-year study evaluating the clinical effectiveness of ActiveStep® training in reducing falls in older adults. Principal Investigator Jon Lurie MD, MS, a researcher at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), will lead this pilot clinical study to confirm that the fall risk reduction results demonstrated in controlled laboratory experiments using ActiveStep® translate to reduced falls and improved outcomes in a clinical population. The research is being conducted with the Physical Therapy Departments of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, both in Lebanon, NH, and is funded by a pilot grant through the Dartmouth Center for Clinical and Translation Science (DCCTS).

The RACE study will evaluate the comparative effectiveness of two fall reduction therapies - traditional physical therapy balance training versus traditional therapy plus ActiveStep® training. Outcomes will be measured by the number of subjects reporting a fall in the 6 months after treatment and by changes in clinically validated outcome measures of fall risk and confidence. Data from this pilot study will be used to support a large-scale multi-center randomized clinical trial of ActiveStep®.

"Falls in the elderly are a large, growing, and expensive health care challenge. ActiveStep® has been shown in laboratory studies to reduce fall risk. The RACE study will evaluate whether these laboratory results translate into clinically significant reductions in falls. Rigorous testing of new technologies to insure cost-effective health care programs is critical," said Dr. Lurie. "We're excited about the potential benefits that ActiveStep® may provide."

Each year, an estimated one third of older adults fall. In 2005, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 in the US died as a result of fall-related injuries. The average cost for treating injuries resulting from falls is over $20,000 per fall. According to a 2006 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among people over 65 years old. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries is expected to reach $43.8 billion (in current dollars) (Englander et al. 1996). . Of those who fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard to get around or live alone. (Alexander et al. 1992).

ActiveStep® uses a programmable and progressive neuromuscular training approach to enhance the automatic recovery response that can keep an imbalance from becoming a fall. The ActiveStep® fall simulator produces imbalances to evaluate how a person responds to slip and trip perturbations in a controlled safe environment. With each imbalance, natural compensating reactions take over, producing a recovery response that helps avoid a fall.

ActiveStep® (patents) was developed in part with funding from the National Institute of Aging at the National Institutes of Health through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The concept for ActiveStep is based on research pioneered by Mark Grabiner, PhD at University of Illinois - Chicago in the Department of Movement Sciences and supported by research funding from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. It is currently in use in a number of clinical settings in the Northeast and Florida.

"Falls are one of the most serious problems facing older adults and their caregivers," said Richard Greenwald, PhD, President of Simbex, the developers of ActiveStep®. "The good news is that systems such as ActiveStep® can go a long way toward reducing falls, lowering fall risk and allowing people to maintain their mobility and their quality of life."

About Simbex LLC
Simbex is a research and product development company whose core expertise is biomechanical feedback systems. The company develops marketable products and solutions from emerging technologies for active life improvement in the areas of prosthetics, sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. The founders are internationally recognized experts in their fields and have decades of experience in the area of functional evaluation and efficacy assessment of complex biomechanical systems for the sporting goods, orthopedic and exercise equipment industries. The research branch of the company is supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense. For further information about Simbex, visit the company's Web site at http://www.simbex.com.


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