Preventing falls in older adults: Can improving cognitive capacity help?

Robinson, Joseph and Kiely, John orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9817-0224 (2017) Preventing falls in older adults: Can improving cognitive capacity help? Cogent Psychology, 4 (1). p. 1405866.

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Falls related injuries cost the UK National Health Service ~£1 billion per annum and significantly diminish quality of life. Interventions reducing falls risk therefore offer significant benefits from health and economic perspectives. Evidence linking physical health with beneficial cognitive outcomes is well established. Recently, dimensions of cognitive and physical decline within the older adult population have been closely associated. However, the potential for cognitive enhancement to impact on physical function is far less explored. Recently emerging evidence suggests that higher cognitive functions and motor coordination share a fundamentally limited pool of neural resources. Computer-based cognitive training, designed to improve higher cognitive function, may enhance the functional efficiency of available neural capacity, thus potentially positively impacting on physical functions, such as walking. Within this article the currently available literature is reviewed and the potential for novel, impactful, and financially efficient practical applications for deterring falls in older adults are discussed.

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