ADHD drug can reduce falls in elderly
Most commonly used to treat ADHD, methylphenidate – sold as Ritalin and Concerta – may be effective in reducing falls in older adults. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel say the drug can help improve balance control during walking, and that can reduce the number of falls among the elderly—which are the leading cause of hip fractures and other injury-related ER visits.
This scientists observed 30 healthy adults at least 70 years old and who had the ability to walk at least 70 feet without an assistive device. Participants were given a single 10mg dose of methylphenidate and were assessed during four tests of motor and cognitive skills. The elderly participants exhibited improved walking while handling single tasks and tests that combined both motor and cognitive skills.
The researchers suspect that the drug helps enhance attention, which can lead to better balance and concentration. This study also shows that there can be other applications of ADHD medication, including treatments for the part of the brain that deals with motor and balance control.