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Journal Article


Mc Ardle R, Del Din S, Donaghy P, Galna B, Thomas AJ, Rochester L. Sensors (Basel) 2021; 21(3): e813.


(Copyright © 2021, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Laboratory-based gait assessments are indicative of clinical outcomes (e.g., disease identification). Real-world gait may be more sensitive to clinical outcomes, as impairments may be exaggerated in complex environments. This study aims to investigate how different environments (e.g., lab, real world) impact gait. Different walking bout lengths in the real world will be considered proxy measures of context. Data collected in different dementia disease subtypes will be analysed as disease-specific gait impairments are reported between these groups. Thirty-two people with cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (AD), 28 due to dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and 25 controls were recruited. Participants wore a tri-axial accelerometer for six 10 m walks in lab settings, and continuously for seven days in the real world. Fourteen gait characteristics across five domains were measured (i.e., pace, variability, rhythm, asymmetry, postural control). In the lab, the DLB group showed greater step length variability (p = 0.008) compared to AD. Both subtypes demonstrated significant gait impairments (p < 0.01) compared to controls. In the real world, only very short walking bouts (<10 s) demonstrated different gait impairments between subtypes. The context where walking occurs impacts signatures of gait impairment in dementia subtypes. To develop real-world gait assessment as a clinical tool, algorithms and metrics must accommodate for changes in context.

Language: en


dementia; gait; accelerometer; continuous monitoring; real-world environments; wearable technology


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