USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Development of Headwear To Prevent Fall-Related Injuries in Elderly Persons

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Development of Headwear To Prevent Fall-Related Injuries in Elderly Persons
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43AG033936-01
Award Amount: $156,592.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from falls is a major public health problem among older adults in the United States with a substantial impact on the health-care delivery system. Much of the research agenda is focused on me dical assessment and exercise programs. Severe disability and death from TBI are relatively high in older adults and particularly in i) frail older adults with impaired balance but continued engagement in independent lifestyles, ii) demented individuals wi th poor awareness of impaired balance, iii) older adults with pre-existing TBI, iv) delirious, agitated older adults who have a twenty fold increased risk of falling while in a hospital or v) older adults with impaired balance and on anticoagulation medica tions. Liability from serious head injuries from falls is significant for hospitals and long-term care facilities. Because of a shift to restraint-free environments, there is a need for a practical cranio-protective headgear, and current devices are not ad equate. With the aging of the population together with the impact of chronic diseases including dementia and impaired balance and mobility; proven and cost-effective prevention interventions are needed for individuals and available as part of preventive st rategies targeted for high risk individuals in acute and long-term care. This proposed study will use validated impact testing methods to compare the effectiveness of different materials and combinations of materials to assess impact attenuation, durab ility of repeated impacts, and thickness that will relate to design shape and comfort. From these data, three prototype headwear devices will be constructed and analyzed for attenuation of impact data collected on fall simulations using freefall drop tests of an instrumented Hybrid III mannequin that will be analyzed with LifeModTM software to measure peak resultant head deceleration and standardized Head Injury Criteria (HIC) values for unprotected vs. protected conditions of the three prototypes. Results from this proposed study will be used to apply for a Phase II project for end user (both older adults and clinical staff) clinical testing and plans for commercialization including the implementation of start up strategies for manufacturing, distribution a nd sales. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Fall-related traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem with substantial impact on healthcare systems that will increase as the population ages. There is a need for more practical, soft, cranio-protective headwear for targeted high risk older adults and clinical settings. This proposal will use standardized methods of impact testing of unique composites to develop prototypes of protective headwear for pre-clinical trial analysis of impact attenuation using simulated falls of instrumented Hybrid-III mannequins using LifeModTM software.

Principal Investigator:

James R. Ferguson

Business Contact:

Helen E. Loos
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 120344651
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No