“We all know older people who’ve had a fall – whether it’s a neighbour down the street, our own parents or grandparents – and how distressing it can be,” Dr Levinger said. “Through this research we hope to prevent some of those falls.”
Dr Levinger said 1 in 3 Australians over the age of 65 will have at least one fall each year. Some of these can be serious, resulting in a significant financial impact in hostpital visits, broken bones and head injuries, and often psychological distress for the elderly person.
Meanwhile, 1 in 2 people with muscular skeletal problems suffer falls, she said.
“Studies have shown vitamin D reduces the risk of falls through its roles in bone metabolism, performance and muscle function,” she said. “Understanding this link better could help a lot of people but especially those with bad joints who are particularly vulnerable to falls.”
The study will also investigate whether osteo-arthritis and other conditions are impacted by vitamin D deficiency.
Dr Levinger is now seeking volunteers over 60 years of age, with or without osteo-arthritis, to visit Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus once for an assessment and once to a clinic for a free MRI and bone desnity scan.
Volunteers should not be on vitamin D supplements but multivitamins are not an issue.
For more information or to volunteer please call 9919 5525