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Hum Mov Sci ; 91: 103138, 2023 Oct.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37573800

Humans prioritize regulation of the whole-body angular momentum (WBAM) during walking. When perturbed, modulations of the moment arm of the ground reaction force (GRF) with respect to the centre of mass (CoM) assist in recovering WBAM. For sagittal-plane perturbations of the WBAM given at toe off right (TOR), horizontal GRF modulations and not centre of pressure (COP) modulations were mainly responsible for these moment arm modulations. In this study, we aimed to find whether the instant of perturbations affects the contributions of the GRF and/or CoP modulations to the moment arm changes, in balance recovery during very slow walking. Perturbations of the WBAM were applied at three different instants of the gait cycle, namely at TOR, mid-swing (MS), and heel strike right (HSR). Forces equal to 16% of the participant's body weight were applied simultaneously to the pelvis and upper body in opposite directions for a duration of 150 ms. The results showed that the perturbation onset did not significantly affect the GRF moment arm modulation. However, the contribution of both the CoP and GRF modulation to the moment arm changes did change depending on the perturbation instant. After perturbations resulting in a forward pitch of the trunk a larger contribution was present from the CoP modulation when perturbations were given at MS or HSR, compared to perturbations at TOR. After backward pitch perturbations given at MS and HSR the CoP modulation counteracted the moment arm required for WBAM recovery. Therefore a larger contribution from the horizontal GRF was needed to direct the GRF posterior to the CoM and recover WBAM. In conclusion, the onset of WBAM perturbations does not affect the moment arm modulation needed for WBAM recovery, while it does affect the way CoP and GRF modulation contribute to that recovery.

Gait , Walking , Humans , Walking/physiology , Gait/physiology , Motion , Pelvis/physiology , Gravitation , Biomechanical Phenomena , Postural Balance/physiology
Front Public Health ; 11: 1169083, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37546315

Background: Frailty is a dynamic and complex geriatric condition characterized by multi-domain declines in physiological, gait and cognitive function. This study examined whether digital health technology can facilitate frailty identification and improve the efficiency of diagnosis by optimizing analytical and machine learning approaches using select factors from comprehensive geriatric assessment and gait characteristics. Methods: As part of an ongoing study on observational study of Aging, we prospectively recruited 214 individuals living independently in the community of Southern China. Clinical information and fragility were assessed using comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). Digital tool box consisted of wearable sensor-enabled 6-min walk test (6MWT) and five machine learning algorithms allowing feature selections and frailty classifications. Results: It was found that a model combining CGA and gait parameters was successful in predicting frailty. The combination of these features in a machine learning model performed better than using either CGA or gait parameters alone, with an area under the curve of 0.93. The performance of the machine learning models improved by 4.3-11.4% after further feature selection using a smaller subset of 16 variables. SHapley Additive exPlanation (SHAP) dependence plot analysis revealed that the most important features for predicting frailty were large-step walking speed, average step size, age, total step walking distance, and Mini Mental State Examination score. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that digital health technology can be used for predicting frailty and identifying the key gait parameters in targeted health assessments.

Frailty , Wearable Electronic Devices , Humans , Aged , Frailty/diagnosis , Frail Elderly , Gait/physiology , Aging/physiology
Sensors (Basel) ; 23(15)2023 Aug 03.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37571703

Gait speed declines with age and slower walking speeds are associated with poor health outcomes. Understanding why we do not walk faster as we age, despite being able to, has implications for rehabilitation. Changes in regional oxygenated haemoglobin (HbO2) across the frontal lobe were monitored using functional near infrared spectroscopy in 17 young and 18 older adults while they walked on a treadmill for 5 min, alternating between 30 s of walking at a preferred and fast (120% preferred) speed. Gait was quantified using a triaxial accelerometer (lower back). Differences between task (preferred/fast) and group (young/old) and associations between regional HbO2 and gait were evaluated. Paired tests indicated increased HbO2 in the supplementary motor area (right) and primary motor cortex (left and right) in older adults when walking fast (p < 0.006). HbO2 did not significantly change in the young when walking fast, despite both groups modulating gait. When evaluating the effect of age (linear mixed effects model), greater increases in HbO2 were observed for older adults when walking fast (prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area and primary motor cortex) compared to young adults. In older adults, increased step length and reduced step length variability were associated with larger increases in HbO2 across multiple regions when walking fast. Walking fast required increased activation of motor regions in older adults, which may serve as a therapeutic target for rehabilitation. Widespread increases in HbO2 across the frontal cortex highlight that walking fast represents a resource-intensive task as we age.

Motor Cortex , Walking Speed , Aged , Humans , Young Adult , Gait/physiology , Oxyhemoglobins , Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared/methods , Walking/physiology , Walking Speed/physiology
Sensors (Basel) ; 23(15)2023 Aug 04.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37571727

Three-dimensional (3D) cameras used for gait assessment obviate the need for bodily markers or sensors, making them particularly interesting for clinical applications. Due to their limited field of view, their application has predominantly focused on evaluating gait patterns within short walking distances. However, assessment of gait consistency requires testing over a longer walking distance. The aim of this study is to validate the accuracy for gait assessment of a previously developed method that determines walking spatiotemporal parameters and kinematics measured with a 3D camera mounted on a mobile robot base (ROBOGait). Walking parameters measured with this system were compared with measurements with Xsens IMUs. The experiments were performed on a non-linear corridor of approximately 50 m, resembling the environment of a conventional rehabilitation facility. Eleven individuals exhibiting normal motor function were recruited to walk and to simulate gait patterns representative of common neurological conditions: Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Cerebellar Ataxia. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine statistical differences between the measurement systems and between walking conditions. When comparing walking parameters between paired measures of the systems, significant differences were found for eight out of 18 descriptors: range of motion (ROM) of trunk and pelvis tilt, maximum knee flexion in loading response, knee position at toe-off, stride length, step time, cadence; and stance duration. When analyzing how ROBOGait can distinguish simulated pathological gait from physiological gait, a mean accuracy of 70.4%, a sensitivity of 49.3%, and a specificity of 74.4% were found when compared with the Xsens system. The most important gait abnormalities related to the clinical conditions were successfully detected by ROBOGait. The descriptors that best distinguished simulated pathological walking from normal walking in both systems were step width and stride length. This study underscores the promising potential of 3D cameras and encourages exploring their use in clinical gait analysis.

Gait , Walking , Humans , Gait/physiology , Walking/physiology , Lower Extremity , Knee , Knee Joint , Biomechanical Phenomena
Handb Clin Neurol ; 195: 103-126, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37562865

The frontal lobe is crucial and contributes to controlling truncal motion, postural responses, and maintaining equilibrium and locomotion. The rich repertoire of frontal gait disorders gives some indication of this complexity. For human walking, it is necessary to simultaneously achieve at least two tasks, such as maintaining a bipedal upright posture and locomotion. Particularly, postural control plays an extremely significant role in enabling the subject to maintain stable gait behaviors to adapt to the environment. To achieve these requirements, the frontal cortex (1) uses cognitive information from the parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices, (2) creates plans and programs of gait behaviors, and (3) acts on the brainstem and spinal cord, where the core posture-gait mechanisms exist. Moreover, the frontal cortex enables one to achieve a variety of gait patterns in response to environmental changes by switching gait patterns from automatic routine to intentionally controlled and learning the new paradigms of gait strategy via networks with the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and limbic structures. This chapter discusses the role of each area of the frontal cortex in behavioral control and attempts to explain how frontal lobe controls walking with special reference to postural control.

Frontal Lobe , Gait , Humans , Gait/physiology , Brain Stem , Basal Ganglia , Postural Balance
J Rehabil Med ; 55: jrm7130, 2023 Aug 07.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37548420

OBJECTIVE: Impaired ankle dorsiflexion in hemiparesis may be treated with ankle-foot orthosis or functional electrical stimulation. Semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation uses independent stimulations of deep and superficial peroneal nerves. The aim of this study was to compare gait kinematics using ankle-foot orthosis or semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation over 6 months in hemiparesis. METHODS: Subjects with chronic hemiparesis, randomized into ankle-foot orthosis or semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation groups, underwent comfortable gait analysis without and with device OFF and ON, before, and 3 and 6 months after treatment onset. The effects of condition, visit and group on gait kinematics (analysis of variance; ANOVA) were analysed. RESULTS: A total of 27 subjects were included (ankle-foot orthosis, n = 13; semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation, n = 14). The only between-group difference in changes from OFF to ON conditions was a deteriorated ankle dorsiflexion speed with ankle-foot orthosis at month 6 (condition*group, p = 0.04; ankle-foot orthosis, -60%, p = 0.02; semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation, non significant). Both groups pooled, from OFF to ON gait speed (+ 0.07 m/s; + 10%), cadence (+ 4%), step length (+ 6%) and peak ankle dorsiflexion (+ 6°) increased, and peak ankle inversion (-5°) and peak knee flexion (-2°) decreased (p < 0.001); finally, peak knee flexion in the OFF condition increased (+ 2°, p = 0.03). CONCLUSION: Semi-implanted selective functional electrical stimulation and ankle-foot orthosis similarly impacted gait kinematics in chronic hemiparesis after 6 months of use. Ankle dorsiflexion speed in swing deteriorated markedly with ankle-foot orthosis.

Foot Orthoses , Gait Disorders, Neurologic , Humans , Ankle , Peroneal Nerve/physiology , Biomechanical Phenomena , Treatment Outcome , Gait/physiology , Paresis
J Biomech ; 157: 111686, 2023 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37531851

An increment in peak tibial acceleration (PTA) may be related to an increased risk of running-rated injury. Many authors believe that reducing PTA through improved shock-absorption could, therefore, help prevent injury. The aim of the current study was, therefore, to investigate the individual responses of participants to a biofeedback intervention aimed at reducing PTA.11 participants (two females, nine males; 43 ±â€¯10 years; stature: 1.74 ±â€¯0.07 m; body mass: 74 ±â€¯11 kg; distance running a week: 19 ±â€¯14 km; 5 km time: 24 ±â€¯3 min) received an intervention of six sessions of multisensory biofeedback aimed at reducing PTA. Mean PTA and kinematic patterns were measured at baseline, directly after the feedback intervention and a month after the end of the intervention. Group as well as single-subject analyses were performed to quantify differences between the sessions. A significant decrease of 26 per cent (effect size: Hedges' g = 0.94) in mean PTA was found a month after the intervention. No significant changes or large effect sizes were found for any group differences in the kinematic variables. However, on an individual level, shock-absorbing solutions differed both within and between participants. The data suggest participants did not learn a specific solution to reduce PTA but rather learned the concept of reducing PTA. These results suggest future research in gait retraining should investigate individual learning responses and focus on the different strategies participants use both between and within sessions. For training purposes, participants should not focus on learning one running strategy, but they should explore several strategies.

Biofeedback, Psychology , Tibia , Male , Female , Humans , Tibia/physiology , Acceleration , Gait/physiology , Learning , Biomechanical Phenomena/physiology
J Biomech ; 157: 111744, 2023 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37535986

To accurately predict internal tissue loads for early diagnostics of diabetic foot ulcerations, a novel data-driven computational analysis was conducted. A dedicated dual fluoroscopic system was combined with a pressure mat to simultaneously characterize foot motions and soft tissue's material properties during gait. Finite element (FE) models of the heel pad of a diabetic patient were constructed with 3D trajectories of the calcaneus applied as boundary conditions to simulate gait events. The tensile and compressive stresses occurring in the plantar tissue were computed. Predictions of the layered tissue FE model with anatomically-accurate heel pad structures (i.e., fat and skin) were compared with those of the traditional lumped tissue (i.e., homogeneous) models. The influence of different material properties (patient-specific versus generic) on internal tissue stresses was also investigated. The results showed the peak tensile stresses in the layered tissue model were predominantly found in the skin and distributed towards the circumferential regions of the heel, while peak compressive stresses in the fat tissue-bone interface were up to 51.4% lower than those seen in the lumped models. Performing FE analyses at four different phases of walking revealed that ignorance of layered tissue structures resulted in an unphysiological increase of peak-to-peak value of stress fluctuation in the fat and skin tissue components. Thus, to produce more clinical-relevant predictions, foot FE models are suggested to include layered tissue structures of the plantar tissue for an improved estimation of internal stresses in the diabetic foot in gait.

Diabetes Mellitus , Diabetic Foot , Humans , Diabetic Foot/diagnostic imaging , Foot/diagnostic imaging , Gait/physiology , Heel/physiology , Adipose Tissue , Finite Element Analysis , Stress, Mechanical
PLoS One ; 18(8): e0289811, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37561773

Researchers and engineers have developed exoskeletons capable of reducing the energetic cost of walking by decreasing the force their users' muscles are required to produce while contracting. The metabolic effect of assisting concentric and isometric muscle contractions depends, in part, on assistance magnitude. We conducted human treadmill experiments to explore the effects of assistance magnitude on the biomechanics and energetics of walking with an energy-removing exoskeleton designed to assist eccentric muscle contractions. Our results demonstrate that the assistance magnitude of an energy-removing device significantly affects the energetics, muscle activity, and biomechanics of walking. Under the moderate assistance magnitude condition, our device reduced the metabolic cost of walking below that of normal walking by 3.4% while simultaneously producing 0.29 W of electricity. This reduction in the energetic cost of walking was also associated with an 8.9% decrease in hamstring activity. Furthermore, we determined that there is an assistance magnitude threshold that, when crossed, results in the device transitioning from assisting to hindering its user. This transition is marked by significant increases in muscle activity and the metabolic cost of walking. These results could aid in the future design of exoskeletons and biomechanical energy harvesters, as well as adaptive control systems, that identify user-specific control parameters associated with minimum energy expenditure.

Exoskeleton Device , Humans , Ankle Joint/physiology , Electromyography/methods , Walking/physiology , Muscle, Skeletal/physiology , Energy Metabolism/physiology , Biomechanical Phenomena/physiology , Gait/physiology
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) ; 108: 106061, 2023 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37556922

BACKGROUND: Individuals with unilateral transfemoral amputation walk with increased levels of asymmetry, and this is associated with reduced gait efficiency, back pain and overuse of the intact limb. This study investigated the effect of walking with a unilateral absence of loading response knee flexion on the symmetry of anterior-posterior kinetics and centre of mass accelerations. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study design was used, assessing three-dimensional gait data from individuals with unilateral transfemoral amputation (n = 56). The anterior-posterior gait variables analysed included; peak ground reaction forces, impulse, centre of mass acceleration, as well as rate of vertical ground reaction force increase in early stance. With respect to these variables, this study assessed the symmetry between intact and prosthetic limbs, compared intact limbs against a healthy unimpaired control group, and evaluated effect on symmetry of microprocessor controlled knee provision. FINDINGS: Significant between-limb asymmetries were found between intact and prosthetic limbs across all variables (p < 0.0001). Intact limbs showed excessive loading when compared with control group limbs after speed normalisation across all variables (p < 0.0001). No improvement in kinetic symmetry following microprocessor controlled knee provision was found. INTERPRETATION: The gait asymmetries for individuals with transfemoral amputation identified in this study suggest that more should be done by developers to address the resultant overloading of the intact limb, as this is thought to have negative long-term effects. The provision of microprocessor controlled knees did not appear to improve the asymmetries faced by individuals with transfemoral amputation, and clinicians should be aware of this when managing patient expectations.

Amputees , Artificial Limbs , Humans , Kinetics , Retrospective Studies , Gait/physiology , Amputation, Surgical , Walking/physiology , Microcomputers , Biomechanical Phenomena/physiology
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) ; 108: 106059, 2023 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37562332

BACKGROUND: Walking biomechanics are commonly affected after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and differ compared to uninjured controls. Manipulating task difficulty has been shown to affect the magnitude of walking impairments in those early after knee surgery but it is unclear if patients in later phases post-op are similarly affected by differing task demands. Here, we evaluated the effects of manipulating walking speed on between-limb differences in ground reaction force and knee biomechanics in those with and without anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. METHODS: We recruited 28 individuals with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and 20 uninjured control participants to undergo walking assessments at three speeds (self-selected, 120%, and 80% self-selected speed). Main outcomes included sagittal plane knee moments, angles, excursions, and ground reaction forces (vertical and anterior-posterior). FINDINGS: We observed walking speed differentially impacted force and knee-outcomes in those with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Between-limb differences increased at fast and decreased at slow speeds in those with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction while uninjured participants maintained between-limb differences regardless of speed (partial η2 = 0.13-0.33, p < 0.05). Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction patients underloaded the surgical limb relative to both the contralateral, and uninjured controls in GRFs and sagittal plane knee moments (partial η2 range = 0.13-0.25, p < 0.05). INTERPRETATION: Overall, our findings highlight the persistence of walking impairments in those with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction despite completing formal rehabilitation. Further research should consider determining if those displaying larger changes in gait asymmetries in response to fast walking also exhibit poorer strength and/or joint health outcomes.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries , Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction , Humans , Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries/surgery , Walking Speed , Biomechanical Phenomena , Knee Joint/surgery , Knee Joint/physiology , Gait/physiology , Walking/physiology , Knee/surgery
Sci Rep ; 13(1): 13219, 2023 08 14.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37580375

Walking on unknown and rough terrain is challenging for (bipedal) robots, while humans naturally cope with perturbations. Therefore, human strategies serve as an excellent inspiration to improve the robustness of robotic systems. Neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) models provide the necessary interface for the validation and transfer of human control strategies. Reflexes play a crucial part during normal locomotion and especially in the face of perturbations, and provide a simple, transferable, and bio-inspired control scheme. Current reflex-based NMS models are not robust to unexpected perturbations. Therefore, in this work, we propose a bio-inspired improvement of a widely used NMS walking model. In humans, different muscles show an increase in activation in anticipation of the landing at the end of the swing phase. This preactivation is not integrated in the used reflex-based walking model. We integrate this activation by adding an additional feedback loop and show that the landing is adapted and the robustness to unexpected step-down perturbations is markedly improved (from 3 to 10 cm). Scrutinizing the effect, we find that the stabilizing effect is caused by changed knee kinematics. Preactivation, therefore, acts as an accommodation strategy to cope with unexpected step-down perturbations, not requiring any detection of the perturbation. Our results indicate that such preactivation can potentially enable a bipedal system to react adequately to upcoming unexpected perturbations and is hence an effective adaptation of reflexes to cope with rough terrain. Preactivation can be ported to robots by leveraging the reflex-control scheme and improves the robustness to step-down perturbation without the need to detect the perturbation. Alternatively, the stabilizing mechanism can also be added in an anticipatory fashion by applying an additional knee torque to the contralateral knee.

Muscle, Skeletal , Walking , Humans , Muscle, Skeletal/physiology , Walking/physiology , Locomotion , Reflex/physiology , Knee , Biomechanical Phenomena , Electromyography , Gait/physiology
PLoS One ; 18(8): e0287252, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37535522

As individuals age, they may experience a decline in gait automaticity, which requires increased attentional resources for the control of gait. This age-related decline in gait automaticity has been shown to contribute to higher prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation and lower dual-task performance during dual-task walking in older adults. This study is to investigate the effect of treadmill walking on PFC activation and dual-task performance in older adults. A total of 20 older adults (mean age, 64.35 ± 2.74 years) and 20 younger adults (mean age, 30.00 ± 3.15 years) performed single- and dual-task walking in overground and treadmill conditions. A wearable functional near-infrared spectroscopy and gait analyzer were used to analyze PFC activation and dual-task performance, respectively. To determine the dual-task (gait and cognitive) performance, the dual-task cost (DTC) was calculated using the following formula: (single-task - dual-task)/single-task × 100. In both groups, dual-task treadmill walking led to reduced PFC activation and reduced DTC compared to dual-task overground walking. Furthermore, despite a higher DTC in gait variability, correct response, total response, response index and a higher error score in older adults than in younger adults during overground walking, there was no difference in treadmill walking. The difference in PFC activation between single- and dual-tasks was also observed only in overground walking. Performing dual-task walking on a treadmill compared to overground walking results in different levels of dual-task performance and PFC activity. Specifically, older adults are able to maintain similar levels of dual-task performance as younger adults while walking on a treadmill, with reduced PFC activation due to the automaticity induced by the treadmill. Therefore, older adults who exhibit low dual-task performance during overground walking may be able to improve their performance while walking on a treadmill with fewer attentional resources.

Task Performance and Analysis , Walking , Humans , Aged , Middle Aged , Adult , Walking/physiology , Gait/physiology , Prefrontal Cortex , Exercise Test/methods , Cognition/physiology
PLoS Comput Biol ; 19(8): e1010712, 2023 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37549183

Walking balance is central to independent mobility, and falls due to loss of balance are a leading cause of death for people 65 years of age and older. Bipedal gait is typically unstable, but healthy humans use corrective torques to counteract perturbations and stabilize gait. Exoskeleton assistance could benefit people with neuromuscular deficits by providing stabilizing torques at lower-limb joints to replace lost muscle strength and sensorimotor control. However, it is unclear how applied exoskeleton torques translate to changes in walking kinematics. This study used musculoskeletal simulation to investigate how exoskeleton torques applied to the ankle and subtalar joints alter center of mass kinematics during walking. We first created muscle-driven walking simulations using OpenSim Moco by tracking experimental kinematics and ground reaction forces recorded from five healthy adults. We then used forward integration to simulate the effect of exoskeleton torques applied to the ankle and subtalar joints while keeping muscle excitations fixed based on our previous tracking simulation results. Exoskeleton torque lasted for 15% of the gait cycle and was applied between foot-flat and toe-off during the stance phase, and changes in center of mass kinematics were recorded when the torque application ended. We found that changes in center of mass kinematics were dependent on both the type and timing of exoskeleton torques. Plantarflexion torques produced upward and backward changes in velocity of the center of mass in mid-stance and upward and smaller forward velocity changes near toe-off. Eversion and inversion torques primarily produced lateral and medial changes in velocity in mid-stance, respectively. Intrinsic muscle properties reduced kinematic changes from exoskeleton torques. Our results provide mappings between ankle plantarflexion and inversion-eversion torques and changes in center of mass kinematics which can inform designers building exoskeletons aimed at stabilizing balance during walking. Our simulations and software are freely available and allow researchers to explore the effects of applied torques on balance and gait.

Ankle , Exoskeleton Device , Adult , Humans , Torque , Biomechanical Phenomena/physiology , Walking/physiology , Gait/physiology
PLoS One ; 18(7): e0288438, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37494307

Injuries commonly occur on stairs, with high injury rates in young adults, especially young women. High injury rates could result from physiological and/or behavioral differences; this study focuses on behaviors. The purposes of this observational study were (1) to quantify young adult behaviors during stair descent and (2) to identify differences in stair descent behavior for young adult men versus women. Young adult pedestrians (N = 2,400, 1,470 men and 930 women) were videotaped during descent of two indoor campus staircases, a short staircase (2 steps) and a long staircase (17 steps). Behaviors during stair descent were coded by experimenters. Risky behaviors observed on the short staircase included: No one used the handrail, 16.1% used an electronic device, and 16.4% had in-person conversations. On the long staircase: 64.8% of pedestrians did not use the handrail, 11.9% used an electronic device, and 14.5% had in-person conversations. Risky behaviors observed more in women included: less likely to use the handrail (long staircase), more likely to carry an item in their hands (both staircases), more likely to engage in conversation (both staircases), and more likely to wear sandals or heels (both staircases) (p≤0.05). Protective behaviors observed more in women included: less likely to skip steps (both staircases), and more likely to look at treads during transition steps (long staircase) (p≤0.05). The number of co-occurring risky behaviors was higher in women: 1.9 vs 2.3, for men vs women, respectively (p<0.001). Five pedestrians lost balance but did not fall; four of these pedestrians lost balance on the top step and all five had their gaze diverted from the steps at the time balance was lost. The observed behaviors may be related to the high injury rate of stair-related falls in young adults, and young women specifically.

Heel , Risk-Taking , Male , Humans , Young Adult , Female , Biomechanical Phenomena , Gait/physiology , Walking/physiology
J Neuroeng Rehabil ; 20(1): 91, 2023 07 18.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37464390

BACKGROUND: Freezing of gait (FOG) is one of the most debilitating symptoms in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD). Visual cues can relieve FOG symptoms. However, there is no consensus on patient characteristics that can benefit from visual cues. Therefore, we examined the differences in IPD patient characteristics according to the effectiveness of visual cueing. METHODS: Through gait experiments, we investigated the number of FOG occurrences, average FOG period per episode, proportion of FOG duration in the total gait cycles, and FOG-free period gait spatiotemporal parameters in ten participants diagnosed with FOG due to IPD. Subsequently, the differences between their clinical characteristics and striatal dopamine active transporter availability from six subregions of the striatum were compared by dividing them into two groups based on the three reduction rates: occurrence numbers, mean durations per episode, and proportion of FOG duration in the total gait cycles improved by visual cueing using laser shoes. The relationships among these three reduction rates and other FOG-related parameters were also investigated using Spearman correlation analyses. RESULTS: According to the three FOG-related reduction rates, the group assignments were the same, which was also related to the baseline self-reported FOG severity score (New Freezing of Gait Questionnaire): the more severe the FOG, the poorer the response to the visual cueing. By visual cueing, the better response group demonstrated the characteristics of lower new FOG questionnaire total scores, higher dopamine active transporter availability of the anterior and posterior putamen, and shorter mean duration of FOG per episode in the absence of cueing. These results were replicated using Spearman correlation analyses. CONCLUSIONS: For FOG symptoms following IPD, gait assistance by visual cueing may be more effective when the total NFOGQ score is lower and the DAT of putamen is higher. Through this study, we demonstrated clinical and striatal dopaminergic conditions to select patients who may be more likely to benefit from visual cueing with laser shoes, and these findings lead to the need for early diagnosis of FOG in patients with IPD. TRIAL REGISTRATION: identifier: NCT05080413. Registered on September 14, 2021.

Gait Disorders, Neurologic , Parkinson Disease , Humans , Parkinson Disease/complications , Pilot Projects , Cues , Dopamine , Gait Disorders, Neurologic/etiology , Case-Control Studies , Gait/physiology
J Neuroeng Rehabil ; 20(1): 86, 2023 Jul 07.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37420235

BACKGROUND: Studies using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) have shown that dual-task walking leads to greater prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation compared to the single-task walking task. However, evidence on age-related changes in PFC activity patterns is inconsistent. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the changes in the activation patterns of PFC subregions in different activation phases (early and late phases) during both single-task and dual-task walking in both older and younger adults. METHODS: Overall, 20 older and 15 younger adults performed a walking task with and without a cognitive task. The activity of the PFC subregions in different phases (early and late phases) and task performance (gait and cognitive task) were evaluated using fNIRS and a gait analyzer. RESULTS: The gait (slower speed and lower cadence) and cognitive performance (lower total response, correct response and accuracy rate, and higher error rate) of older adults was poorer during the dual task than that of younger adults. Right dorsolateral PFC activity in the early period in older adults was higher than that in younger adults, which declined precipitously during the late period. Conversely, the activity level of the right orbitofrontal cortex in the dual-task for older adults was lower than for younger adults. CONCLUSIONS: These altered PFC subregion-specific activation patterns in older adults would indicate a decline in dual-task performance with aging.

Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared , Walking , Humans , Aged , Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared/methods , Walking/physiology , Prefrontal Cortex/diagnostic imaging , Gait/physiology , Frontal Lobe
Sensors (Basel) ; 23(12)2023 Jun 09.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37420623

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by degradation of the myelin sheath resulting in impaired neural communication throughout the body. As a result, most people with MS (PwMS) experience gait asymmetries between their legs leading to an increased risk of falls. Recent work indicates that split-belt treadmill adaptation, where the speed of each leg is controlled independently, can decrease gait asymmetries for other neurodegenerative impairments. The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of split-belt treadmill training to improve gait symmetry in PwMS. In this study, 35 PwMS underwent a 10 min split-belt treadmill adaptation paradigm, with the faster paced belt moving under the more affected limb. Step length asymmetry (SLA) and phase coordination index (PCI) were the primary outcome measures used to assess spatial and temporal gait symmetries, respectively. It was predicted that participants with a worse baseline symmetry would have a greater response to split-belt treadmill adaptation. Following this adaptation paradigm, PwMS experienced aftereffects that improved gait symmetry, with a significant difference between predicted responders and nonresponders in both SLA and PCI change (p < 0.001). Additionally, there was no correlation between SLA and PCI change. These findings suggest that PwMS retain the ability for gait adaptation, with those most asymmetrical at baseline demonstrating the greatest improvement, and that there may be separate neural mechanisms for spatial and temporal locomotor adjustments.

Multiple Sclerosis , Neurodegenerative Diseases , Humans , Gait/physiology , Adaptation, Physiological/physiology , Acclimatization , Exercise Test/methods , Walking/physiology
PLoS One ; 18(7): e0282130, 2023.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37399198

The nervous system predicts and executes complex motion of body segments actuated by the coordinated action of muscles. When a stroke or other traumatic injury disrupts neural processing, the impeded behavior has not only kinematic but also kinetic attributes that require interpretation. Biomechanical models could allow medical specialists to observe these dynamic variables and instantaneously diagnose mobility issues that may otherwise remain unnoticed. However, the real-time and subject-specific dynamic computations necessitate the optimization these simulations. In this study, we explored the effects of intrinsic viscoelasticity, choice of numerical integration method, and decrease in sampling frequency on the accuracy and stability of the simulation. The bipedal model with 17 rotational degrees of freedom (DOF)-describing hip, knee, ankle, and standing foot contact-was instrumented with viscoelastic elements with a resting length in the middle of the DOF range of motion. The accumulation of numerical errors was evaluated in dynamic simulations using swing-phase experimental kinematics. The relationship between viscoelasticity, sampling rates, and the integrator type was evaluated. The optimal selection of these three factors resulted in an accurate reconstruction of joint kinematics (err < 1%) and kinetics (err < 5%) with increased simulation time steps. Notably, joint viscoelasticity reduced the integration errors of explicit methods and had minimal to no additional benefit for implicit methods. Gained insights have the potential to improve diagnostic tools and accurize real-time feedback simulations used in the functional recovery of neuromuscular diseases and intuitive control of modern prosthetic solutions.

Knee Joint , Leg , Leg/physiology , Electric Impedance , Biomechanical Phenomena , Knee Joint/physiology , Lower Extremity , Ankle Joint/physiology , Range of Motion, Articular/physiology , Gait/physiology
Sensors (Basel) ; 23(14)2023 Jul 21.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37514872

Cerebral palsy is a neurologic disorder caused by lesions on an immature brain, often resulting in spasticity and gait abnormality. This study aimed to compare the muscle activation patterns of real level and stair walking with those of simulated walking using an end-effector-type robot in children with spastic cerebral palsy. The electromyographic activities of the vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, tibialis anterior and medial gastrocnemius of nine children with spastic bilateral cerebral palsy were measured during gait using a wireless surface EMG device. Morning walk was used for the simulated gait. Differences in the muscle activation patterns between the real and simulated gait conditions were analyzed. In the loading response, all four muscles showed reduced activity during two simulated conditions. In mid-stance, mGCM showed reduced activity during simulated conditions, whereas BFem showed greater activity during simulated level walking. In the swing phase, BFem and TAnt activity was reduced during the simulated conditions. The onset-offset of the VLat, BFem and TAnt activity was significantly delayed during simulated versus real level walking. No differences in activity onset-offset were observed between the simulated level and stair conditions. In conclusion, the robot-simulated gait showed differences in its muscle activation patterns compared with the real gait conditions, which must be considered for gait training using an end-effector-type robot.

Cerebral Palsy , Robotics , Humans , Child , Muscle Spasticity , Walking/physiology , Muscle, Skeletal , Gait/physiology , Electromyography , Biomechanical Phenomena