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Dissecting the distinctive walk of disease
Date:7/2/2013

torso and lower body movements of patients as they walked. Participants completed three walking trials on the treadmillone at a usual walking pace, another while walking slowly, and another that included working on a task while walking (i.e. pushing a button in response to a sound).

The accelerometer signals were used to examine three aspects of movement: participants moving forward and backward, side to side, and up and down. The researchers then used advanced mathematical computations to extract data from these signals.

The resultsintegrated into the mathematical modelsshowed significant differences between the healthy and clinical populations. These metrics were able to discriminate between the three groups, identifying critical features in how the participants walked.

The Pitt team is now looking to conduct this type of study on a larger scaleevaluating the gait patterns of older adults residing within independent living facilities.

"Our results indicate that we can potentially develop these mathematical models as biomarkers to predict changes in walking due to diseases like Parkinson's disease," said Sejdic. "Now, we want to take it further. We're especially hoping to help those individuals in independent living facilities by predicting the declines in their walking even earlier."

"What also makes this study unique is the multidisciplinary team approach we used," said Jennifer S. Brach (SHRS '94G, '00G) coprincipal investigator of the study and associate professor in Pitt's Department of Physical Therapy. "Here we brought together a research team that included engineers, physical therapists, and experts in geriatrics to work on an important problem in older adultschanges in mobility."


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Contact: B. Rose Huber
rhuber@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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