Journal Article Effects of the lateral amplitude and regularity of upper body fluctuation on step time variability evaluated using return map analysis

Chidori, Kazuhiro  ,  Yamamoto, Yuji

12 ( 7 )  , pp.e0180898 - e0180898 , 2017-07-10 , PLOS
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the lateral amplitude and regularity of upper body fluctuation on step time variability. Return map analysis was used to clarify the relationship between step time variability and a history of falling. Eleven healthy, community-dwelling older adults and twelve younger adults participated in the study. All of the subjects walked 25 m at a comfortable speed. Trunk acceleration was measured using triaxial accelerometers attached to the third lumbar vertebrae (L3) and the seventh cervical vertebrae (C7). The normalized average magnitude of acceleration, the coefficient of determination ($R^2$) of the return map, and the step time variabilities, were calculated. Cluster analysis using the average fluctuation and the regularity of C7 fluctuation identified four walking patterns in the mediolateral (ML) direction. The participants with higher fluctuation and lower regularity showed significantly greater step time variability compared with the others. Additionally, elderly participants who had fallen in the past year had higher amplitude and a lower regularity of fluctuation during walking. In conclusion, by focusing on the time evolution of each step, it is possible to understand the cause of stride and/or step time variability that is associated with a risk of falls.

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