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Locomotor Recovery in Spinal Cord Injury: Insights Beyond Walking Speed and Distance


Awai, Lea; Curt, Armin (2016). Locomotor Recovery in Spinal Cord Injury: Insights Beyond Walking Speed and Distance. Journal of Neurotrauma, 33(15):1428-1435.

Abstract

Recovery of locomotor function after incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) is clinically assessed through walking speed and distance, while improvements in these measures might not be in line with a normalization of gait quality and are, on their own, insensitive at revealing potential mechanisms underlying recovery. The objective of this study was to relate changes of gait parameters to the recovery of walking speed while distinguishing between parameters that rather reflect speed improvements from factors contributing to overall recovery. Kinematic data of 16 iSCI subjects were repeatedly recorded during in-patient rehabilitation. The responsiveness of gait parameters to walking speed was assessed by linear regression. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied on the multivariate data across time to identify factors that contribute to recovery after iSCI. Parameters of gait cycle and movement dynamics were both responsive and closely related to the recovery of walking speed, which increased by 96%. Multivariate analysis revealed specific gait parameters (intralimb shape normality and consistency) that, although less related to speed increments, loaded highly on principal component one (PC1) (58.6%) explaining the highest proportion of variance (i.e., recovery of outcome over time). Interestingly, measures of hip, knee, and ankle range of motion showed varying degrees of responsiveness (from very high to very low) while not contributing to gait recovery as revealed by PCA. The conjunct application of two analysis methods distinguishes gait parameters that simply reflect increased walking speed from parameters that actually contribute to gait recovery in iSCI. This distinction may be of value for the evaluation of interventions for locomotor recovery.

Abstract

Recovery of locomotor function after incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) is clinically assessed through walking speed and distance, while improvements in these measures might not be in line with a normalization of gait quality and are, on their own, insensitive at revealing potential mechanisms underlying recovery. The objective of this study was to relate changes of gait parameters to the recovery of walking speed while distinguishing between parameters that rather reflect speed improvements from factors contributing to overall recovery. Kinematic data of 16 iSCI subjects were repeatedly recorded during in-patient rehabilitation. The responsiveness of gait parameters to walking speed was assessed by linear regression. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied on the multivariate data across time to identify factors that contribute to recovery after iSCI. Parameters of gait cycle and movement dynamics were both responsive and closely related to the recovery of walking speed, which increased by 96%. Multivariate analysis revealed specific gait parameters (intralimb shape normality and consistency) that, although less related to speed increments, loaded highly on principal component one (PC1) (58.6%) explaining the highest proportion of variance (i.e., recovery of outcome over time). Interestingly, measures of hip, knee, and ankle range of motion showed varying degrees of responsiveness (from very high to very low) while not contributing to gait recovery as revealed by PCA. The conjunct application of two analysis methods distinguishes gait parameters that simply reflect increased walking speed from parameters that actually contribute to gait recovery in iSCI. This distinction may be of value for the evaluation of interventions for locomotor recovery.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:1 August 2016
Deposited On:04 Nov 2016 09:36
Last Modified:04 Nov 2016 09:55
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN:0897-7151
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2015.4154
PubMed ID:26896097

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