Attenuation of Upper Body Accelerations during Gait: Piloting an Innovative Assessment Tool for Parkinson's Disease

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Abstract

The objective of the current investigation was to explore whether upper body accelerations obtained during gait provide sensitive measures of postural control in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Thirteen people with PD (70 ± 11 years) and nineteen age-matched controls (70 ± 7 years) walked continuously for two minutes while wearing three inertial sensors located on their lower back (L5), shoulder level (C7), and head. Magnitude (root mean square (RMS)), attenuation (attenuation coefficient), and smoothness (Harmonic ratios, HR) of the accelerations were calculated. People with PD demonstrated greater RMS, particularly in the mediolateral direction, but similar harmonic ratio of head accelerations compared to controls. In addition, they did not attenuate accelerations through the trunk and neck as well as control participants. Our findings indicate that measuring upper body movement provides unique information regarding postural control in PD and that poor attenuation of acceleration from the pelvis to the head contributes to impaired head control. This information is simple to measure and appears to be sensitive to PD and, consequently, is proposed to benefit researchers and clinicians.

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Buckley, C., Galna, B., Rochester, L., & Mazzà, C. (2015). Attenuation of Upper Body Accelerations during Gait: Piloting an Innovative Assessment Tool for Parkinson’s Disease. BioMed Research International, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/865873

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