APDM Wearable Technologies Awarded $4.6M to Predict Falls in Elderly and Cancer Survivors

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Portland-based APDM Wearable Technologies announced today that it is the recipient of three new NIH SBIR awards totaling over $4.6 million, focused on improving the quality of life for senior citizens and cancer survivors through fall prediction and rehabilitation.

Portland-based wearable technology company APDM, Inc. has received three new NIH SBIR awards totaling over $4.6 million to focus on improving the quality of life for senior citizens through fall risk prediction and rehabilitation.

APDM has partnered with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on these projects. While APDM concentrates on technological development and predictive analytics, OHSU will manage data collection and scientific validation. The outcomes of these studies will be assessment systems for both in-clinic visits and at-home monitoring, as well as a technology for biofeedback rehabilitation.

According to Matthew Johnson, General Manager at APDM, “what is unique about these projects is that APDM and OHSU are pushing the boundaries of wearable technology by collecting far more information than just activity and step counts. We can accurately measure the quality of a patient’s movement and how it changes based on the time of day or a particular intervention (e.g., medications, physical therapy etc.). In previous studies we have seen fallers who are able to walk 10,000 steps per day, so a pedometer like FitBit is insufficient. Our technology can continuously measure a subject’s stride length, gait speed, and turn speed just to name a few, all of which have been scientifically demonstrated to be more sensitive to neurological disease and fall risk.”

More than one in four people age 65 and older fall every year, but less than half tell their doctor according to the NIH and CDC websites. That means more than 2.8 million people will visit the emergency room this year due to a fall-related injury. Falls are the number one cause of injury deaths, trauma, fractures and loss of independence in adults. With the average cost per hospital visit being $35,000, this amounts to an annual price tag of over $31 billion. But direct medical costs are not the only issue. Fear of falling and lack of activity can work together in a vicious cycle, intensifying co-morbidities and skyrocketing socioeconomic costs.

“The best predictor of future falls is a previous fall, but if less than half of patients tell their doctor then the system breaks down, “ says Johnson. “Just like blood pressure monitors, a doctor’s office needs an objective measurement system for fall risk. This is a societal problem that needs the attention of our best and brightest minds, because it is going to get worse as the baby boom comes of age.”

OHSU Balance Disorders Lab Director Dr. Fay Horak has worked closely with APDM since its founding in 2007, saying “[APDM] has really changed the kinds of questions I can ask about balance and gait disorders. In the past, I was limited to testing only a small number of subjects and only a few strides of gait. Now, our studies collect data across multiple clinical sites from hundred of subjects with long walks including measures of gait variability.”

The awards are as follows:

Mobility Life: Phase II SBIR - $2,932,813
Continuous monitoring of mobility in daily lives of people with Neurological Disease.
Supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44AG055388. 

Mobility Clinic: Phase II - $1,457,589
A wearable system for assessment of Fall Risk associated with cancer treatment.
Supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number HHSN261201600067C.

Mobility Rehab: Phase I - $298,607
A Biofeedback system for mobility rehabilitation in older adults.
This study is supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AG056012.

For more information, visit http://www.apdm.com

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Matthew Johnson
APDM, Inc.
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