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Posted February 5, 2008
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Sole of Innovation

Laurier professor’s research helps prevent seniors from falling

WATERLOO — Dr. Stephen Perry, a professor in Laurier’s Kinesiology and Physical Education Department, has co-invented a new shoe insole that improves balance and helps prevent seniors from falling.

The Sole Sensor is a simple shoe insole that has a slight ridge along its outer edge to alert seniors when they are losing their balance. Perry hopes it will greatly reduce the number of fall-related injuries among older adults.

“As we age, we loose sensation in the soles of our feet, which can cause poor balance and an increased risk of falling,” says Perry. “The Sole Sensor helps to enhance the sole’s sensory perception. When you feel the insole’s ridge, you subconsciously know that you are unbalanced and adjust your body movements accordingly.”

Perry conducted his research at Laurier, creating prototypes and performing clinical trials at the university. In the trials, a group of seniors aged 65 to 75 who wore Sole Sensors for 12 weeks had half the number of falls than a second group that did not wear the insoles.

Developed with research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Sole Sensor is in its final phase of product development and should be available to the public later this year.

It is also currently being tested on Parkinson’s patients through Laurier’s Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre in an attempt to improve the gait and balance of those who suffer from the disease.

© Copyright 2008/Exchange Morning Post/Exchange Business Communications Inc.
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