For almost 40 years, falls research has progressed without a consensus on a universal definition of how falls are defined. This lack of consensus affects the scope and validity of falls research and fall prevention and early detection programs. A universal definition should include meaningful language that is relatable to multiple stakeholders (eg, people who fall, clinical experts on falls). Broad consideration of what a fall is and how to treat a fall may help improve consensus and improve clinical treatment approaches to reduce fall risk. This article highlights research on falls, brain imaging, and cognitive therapy that supports links between falls, white matter changes in the brain, cognition, and physical activity. The studies presented focus on dementia and Parkinson disease because these populations have profound neurodegenerative white matter changes and the highest rates of falling.
McCarthy's Interactive Physical Therapy, Inc. (owner), and UCSF/SFSU Departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, San Francisco, California (volunteer faculty).
Correspondence: Lise Ellen McCarthy, PT, DPT, GCS, McCarthy's Interactive Physical Therapy, Inc, 927 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116 (email@example.com).
The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.