New scale measures balance, may be solution to prevent falls

As we age, our ability to balance can change. And that loss of balance can pose a serious risk.

In fact, the CDC says that falling down is the No. 1 cause of accidental death for those over 65.

But one scientist says she's found a way to change that with a scale that tells a lot more about you than just your weight.

The Zibrio scale began in a NASA lab. Dr. Katharine Forth was a postdoctoral fellow at NASA, as she created an algorithm to test the balance of astronauts.

"You have these lofty goals, you work towards them and then suddenly you have this miraculous invention," said Forth.

But her focus changed from outer space to someplace a lot closer to home. She was thinking of her grandmother, who was 86 years old when she lost her balance and fell down the stairs.

"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 said.

She realized that by quantifying someone's balance, Forth's algorithm could prevent falls like her grandmother's.

Andrea Case-Rogers is an executive with Zibrio. She talked about the significance of what the scale measures.

"It's sort of hidden data about yourself that is so important," Case-Rogers said.

All someone has to do is stand on the scale for one minute. Then the Zibro app scores their balance on a scale of one to 10. Colors are represented on the app as well, showing different zones.

Forth asks a colleague to get on the scale to demonstrate.

"She's got a 7, so she's in the green. Exactly where you want to be!"

Trauma surgeon John Holcomb says the scale could be a game changer to keep patients out of the emergency room.

"The number one cause of admission into trauma centers across the United States and in every Western country around the world are falls. " Holcomb said.

For Forth, it's a chance to protect those you love most.
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