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New advice on preventing falls



For the first time since 2001, the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatrics Society have updated their guidelines for preventing falls in older people. The update includes two notable changes: One recommends tai chi — the meditative, slow-motion Chinese exercise — as an effective way to prevent falls, while another suggests that doctors review medication use by all elderly patients, with an eye toward reducing use of those drugs that increase the risk of falling.

“The evidence is strongest that medications that affect the brain — these include antidepressants, sleep medications and medications for anxiety — increase the risk of falling,” said Dr. Tinetti. “There is also a suggestion, not yet proven, that narcotics and some blood pressure medications may increase the risk of falls, as well.”


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