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Each year millions of older people are rushed to the hospital after falling down. But now one scientist says she’s found a way to change that and it all began as she was shooting for the moon.
The Zibrio (zih-bree-oh) Scale began at NASA. Katharine Forth was a postdoctoral fellow at NASA when she created an algorithm to test the balance of astronauts.
Katharine Forth, PhD, Creator of Zibrio Smartscale TMCx Houston said, “You have these lofty goals, you work towards them and then suddenly you have this miraculous invention.”
But her focus changed from outer space because of someone close to home. Her grandmother was 86 years old when she lost her balance and fell down the stairs.
Forth said, “And it was just so painful and sad to watch such an athletic, capable person suddenly be reduced to using a walker being in a wheelchair and being in hospital with a broken hip.”
Forth realized that by quantifying someone’s balance, her algorithm could prevent falls like her grandmother’s.
Andrea Case-Rogers, CXO, Zibrio The Balance Company TMCx Houston said, “It’s sort of hidden data about yourself that is so important.”
All someone has to do is stand on the scale for one minute. Then the Zibrio App will score their balance on a scale of one to ten. “She got a seven, so she’s in the green! Exactly where you want to be,” Case-Rogers said.
Trauma surgeon John Holcomb says this could be a game changer to keep patients out of the emergency room.
John Holcomb, MD, UT Houston said, “The number one cause of admission into trauma centers across the United States and in every western country around the world are falls.”
For Katharine Forth, it’s a chance to protect those you love most. Forth said, “I just wanted to help lots of people out there so that this didn’t happen again because falling is preventable.”
The Zibrio Smart scale will be commercially available this summer.
The creators hope that checking someone’s “fall risk” will become a standard part of doctors visits.