The effects of a community-based exercise program on cognitive function and falls in older women with a history of falls: a 12-month randomized controlled trial

Falls are the most frequent cause of injuries and injury-related death in older people. Recent guidelines on preventing falls recognize cognitive impairment as a leading risk factor. People with cognitive impairment have 2.2 times greater risk for falls causing injuries and 1.7 times the mortality rate of older adults with regular cognitive function. Research on falls has not determined which domains of cognition — including attention, memory and perception — figure most significantly in this increased risk. Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose is investigating the specific dimensions of cognition most strongly associated with falls in older women. She is also examining the impact of a 12-month exercise program on these dimensions, and the relationship between changes in cognitive function and incidence of falls. Results from the study could contribute to the design of exercise programs to help prevent falls in older people.