Preventing head impact during backward falls through muscle activation. Falls account for 80% of traumatic brain injuries in adults over age 65, and avoiding head impact often separates a benign fall from a catastrophic event. Understanding how the neck and torso musculature are used to avoid head impact during falls can guide the design of therapeutic exercise programs and assistive or protective devices. IPML researchers recently worked with a multidisciplinary team to address this issue in their paper “Estimating Trunk and Neck Stabilization for Avoiding Head Impact During Real-World Falls in Older Adults.” presented at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC) on July 20, 2020.
Welcome to the Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory (IPML) and the Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors (TIPS) website.
TIPS is a unique university-community partnership for developing new technologies to prevent falls and fall-related injuries in older adults. We are funded by the AGE-WELL National Centre for Excellence (NCE), and by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) through the Emerging Teams in Mobility in Aging and Strategic Teams in Applied Injury Research programs.
Everyone experiences a fall now and then. While most falls do not cause serious injury, occasionally we are reminded of how even a simple fall from standing can be catastrophic. Indeed, falls from standing height are the most common cause of injury-related hospitalizations across the lifespan.
Falls are especially devastating among older adults, as the cause of over 90% of hip fractures and wrist fractures, and 60% of head injuries in this population. Approximately 20% of hip fracture patients die within a year, and 50% will not return to their pre-fracture level of mobility and independence.
TIPS uses innovative approaches (such as video capture and wearable sensors) to determine the causes and circumstances of falls of older adults. We also develop and test the effectiveness of engineering interventions such as protective clothing and compliant flooring in reducing fall-related injuries.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about this innovative program.
The above video is based on a 2009 Discovery Channel episode highlighting TIPS research on fall injury prevention.
Lab contact information:
Injury Prevention and Mobility Laboratory
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Head impacts in men’s university ice hockey: glass and opponent’s hands are most common objects to impact the head. IPML researchers Olivia Aguiar, Brigitte Potvin, Yijian Yang, Kevin Hua, Megan Bruschetta, Shane Virani, and Steve Robinovitch recently published their article "American society of biomechanics journal of biomechanics award 2019: Circumstances of head impacts in men's university ice hockey" in the Journal of Biomechanics. The article follows Olivia Aguiar’s success in winning the Journal of Biomechanics Award for best paper at the American Society of Biomechanics meeting in June 2019. July 17, 2020
Holding objects during falls affects risk for head impact. We might think of holding objects while falling as dangerous, but IPML researchers Vicki Komisar, Natalie Shishov, Yijian Yang, and Steve Robinovitch found that holding weight-bearing objects (such as walkers and chairs) reduced the risk for head impact during falls in older adults, as described in their article “Effect of holding objects on the occurrence of head impact in falls by older adults: Evidence from real-life falls in long term care" published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A. July 5, 2020
Improved evidence on the types of falls in older adults that cause hip fracture. While falls cause 95% of all hip fractures in older adults, only about 1% of falls cause hip fracture. How do falls that cause hip fracture differ from falls that don’t? IPML researchers Yijian Yang, Vicki Komisar, Byran Lo, Natalie Shishov, Alex Korall, Fabio Feldman, and Steve Robinovitch shed light on this question in their recently published paper “The Effect of Fall Biomechanics on Risk for Hip Fracture in Older Adults: A Cohort Study of Video-Captured Falls in Long-Term Care,” published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research with open access. May 13, 2020
Parachute is a leading non-profit organization in Canada dedicated to injury prevention across the lifespan. Parachute recently created a Seniors’ Fall Prevention Collection on their website, which includes a section on Online Courses. Parachute has included a link to the TIPS website of videos of real-life falls in older adults. Feb 13, 2020
Congratulations Emily Post, Vicki Komisar, Joanie Sims-Gould, Alexandra Korall, Fabio Feldman, and Steve Robinovitch for their recent publication "Development of a stick-on hip protector: A multiple methods study to improve hip protector design for older adults in the acute care environment". The paper is available to view online from the Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering. December 5, 2019
On December 2-3, 2019 members of the IPML attended the Origins of Balance Deficits and Falls Deficits Research Cluster at the University of British Columbia. Rasaval Aujla gave a presentation titled "Upper-limb arrest strategies used by older adults to avoid head impact during forward falls". Great work, Rasaval!
Steve Robinovitch, Vicki Komisar, and Hanna Oh, along with past IPML-member Alexandra Korall attended AGE-WELL's annual conference in Moncton, NB. They presented posters, talks, and demos related to preventing fall-related hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries in older adults. October 22-24, 2019
On September 20, 2019, the IPML's Dr. Vicki Komisar appeared in the Globe and Mail for her work on reducing the risk of falls and minimizing their consequences. Check it out here!
Olivia Aguiar, Karam Elabd, and Steve Robinovitch of the IPML attended ISB 2019. Olivia was awarded the Journal of Biomechanics Award from the American Society of Biomechanics. Congratulations! July 31-Aug 4, 2019
From June 30-July 4, 2019, members of the IPML travelled to Scotland to attend ISPGR 2019. Natalie Shishov and Vicki Komisar both presented posters on their most recent work, and Steve Robinovitch took part in a panel discussion on data analytics in real-life situations.
Researchers from AGE-WELL’S Work Project 5.2 team (led by Dr.Robinovitch from the IPML) have worked with the Canadian Standards Association to publish a standard on hip protector testing and labelling. With greater transparency about the biomechanical effectiveness of every consumer product, people are able to make informed choices about which product may be most suitable for them or their family member. The CSA Hip Protectors draft is now available for public review (End date: Sept 5, 2019).
Congratulations Brigitte, Olivia, Vicki, Amerdeep, Karam, and Steve for their successful publication of “A comparison of the magnitude and duration of linear and rotational head accelerations generated during hand-, elbow-, and shoulder-to-head checks delivered by hockey players”. The article is available online through the Journal of Biomechanics, 91 (25), 43-50. June 2019
“The Flooring for Injury Prevention (FLIP) Study of compliant flooring for the prevention of fall-related injuries in long-term care: A randomized trial” has been published. The article is available online through PLOS Medicine 16(6):e1002843. June 2019
In September 2018, the IPML began sharing a unique collection of 105 videos and related information from falls in two long term care facilities in the Vancouver area on Databrary, an NYU based data sharing network. Interested members can request join the network and gain access to this collection for their research and education purposes.