A fight to protect hip protectors

A study of how various devices fit stokes a debate that includes allegations of bias in NIH funding, misconduct, and ineffectiveness

Alison McCook
Apr 17, 2007
Findings from a study that measured where different brands of hip protectors fall on a user's hip have pitted one competitor against another, with each struggling to earn a greater share of a growing market to prevent one of the most deadly accidents that occur in the elderly.A number of companies -- including Naperville, Illinois-based FallGard and Canton, Massachusetts-based HipSaver -- manufacture hip protectors, which contain protective shells within something akin to an undergarment, worn under regular clothing. Both HipSaver and FallGard cost less than $100 each.To protect the hip during falls, the protective shell of these devices must cover the greater trochanter of the femur. In the February issue of Age and Ageing, researchers used ultrasound to measure where various hip protectors fall on a user's hip, and found that some products -- including FallGard, currently in use by thousands of people -- miss their mark.One of the...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?