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Moller J, Hallqvist J, Laflamme L, et al. Emotional stress as a trigger of falls leading to hip or pelvic fracture. BMC Geriatrics. 2009;2(9):7.

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Sudden emotions may interfere with mechanisms for keeping balance among the elderly. This study applied the case-crossover design and was based on data gathered by face-to-face interviews with the elderly, carried out in Stockholm between November 2004 and January 2006 at the emergency departments of two hospitals. Cases (n = 137) were defined as people ages 65 and older admitted for at least one night due to a fall-related hip or pelvic fracture (ICD10: S72 or S32) and meeting a series of selection criteria. Questions were asked about surrounding elements during the time of the injury. The researchers recorded what the patient recalled feeling prior to the injury. Results were found as relative risks with 95% CIs. There was an increased risk for fall and subsequent hip or pelvic fracture for up to 1 hour after emotional stress. This fluctuated depending on the emotion. For example, anger had an increased relative risk of 12.2 (95% CI 2.7 to 54.7), sadness 5.7 (95% CI 1.1 to 28.7), and stress 20.6 (95% CI 4.5 to 93.5). These numbers were all compared with periods of no such feelings. As a result, emotional stress seems to have the potential to trigger falls and subsequent hip or pelvic fracture among autonomous older people. Further studies are needed to clarify how concrete these findings are, as the number of exposed cases is small.