Scientific article
Open access

Smoothness of Gait in Healthy and Cognitively Impaired Individuals: A Study on Italian Elderly Using Wearable Inertial Sensor

Published inSensors, vol. 20, no. 12, 3577
Publication date2020

The main purpose of the present study was to compare the smoothness of gait in older adults with and without cognitive impairments, using the harmonic ratio (HR), a metric derived from trunk accelerations. Ninety older adults aged over 65 (age: 78.9 ± 4.8 years; 62% female) underwent instrumental gait analysis, performed using a wearable inertial sensor and cognitive assessment with the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination Revised (ACE-R). They were stratified into three groups based on their MMSE performance: healthy controls (HC), early and advanced cognitive decline (ECD, ACD). The spatio-temporal and smoothness of gait parameters, the latter expressed through HR in anteroposterior (AP), vertical (V) and mediolateral (ML) directions, were derived from trunk acceleration data. The existence of a relationship between gait parameters and degree of cognitive impairment was also explored. The results show that individuals with ECD and ACD exhibited significantly slower speed and shorter stride length, as well as reduced values of HR in the AP and V directions compared to HC, while no significant differences were found between ECD and ACD in any of the investigated parameters. Gait speed, stride length and HR in all directions were found to be moderately correlated with both MMSE and ACE-R scores. Such findings suggest that, in addition to the known changes in gait speed and stride length, important reductions in smoothness of gait are likely to occur in older adults, owing to early/prodromal stages of cognitive impairment. Given the peculiar nature of these metrics, which refers to overall body stability during gait, the calculation of HR may result in being useful in improving the characterization of gait patterns in older adults with cognitive impairments.

  • Accelerometer
  • Gait
  • Inertial measurement unit (IMU)
  • Older adults
  • Smoothness
Citation (ISO format)
PAU, Massimiliano et al. Smoothness of Gait in Healthy and Cognitively Impaired Individuals: A Study on Italian Elderly Using Wearable Inertial Sensor. In: Sensors, 2020, vol. 20, n° 12, p. 3577. doi: 10.3390/s20123577
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1424-8220

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