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Intralimb coordination as a sensitive indicator of motor-control impairment after spinal cord injury


Awai, Lea; Curt, Armin (2014). Intralimb coordination as a sensitive indicator of motor-control impairment after spinal cord injury. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8:148.

Abstract

Background: Recovery of walking function after neurotrauma, e.g., after spinal cord injury, is routinely captured using standardized walking outcome measures of time and distance. However, these measures do not provide information on possible underlying mechanisms of recovery, nor do they tell anything about the quality of gait. Subjects with an incomplete spinal cord injury are a very heterogeneous group of people with a wide range of functional impairments. A stratification of these subjects would allow increasing sensitivity for hypothesis testing and a more targeted treatment strategy.
Methods: The gait of incomplete spinal cord injured subjects was compared to healthy control subjects by analyzing kinematic data obtained by a 3-D motion capture system. Hip–knee angle-angle plots (cyclograms) informed on the qualitative aspect of gait and the intralimb coordination. Features of the cyclogram, e.g., shape of the cyclogram, cycle-to-cycle consistency and its modulation due to changes in walking speed were discerned and used to stratify spinal cord injured subjects.
Results: Spinal cord injured subjects were unable to modulate their cyclogram configuration when increasing speed from slow to preferred. Their gait quality remained clearly aberrant and showed even higher deviations from normal when walking at preferred speed. Qualitative categorization of spinal cord injured subjects based on their intralimb coordination was complemented by quantitative measures of cyclogram shape comparison.
Discussion: Spinal cord injured subjects showed distinct distortions of intralimb coordination as well as limited modulation to changes in walking speed. The specific changes of the cyclograms revealed complementary insight in the disturbance of lower-limb control in addition to measures of time and distance and may be a useful tool for patient categorization and stratification prior to clinical trial inclusion.

Abstract

Background: Recovery of walking function after neurotrauma, e.g., after spinal cord injury, is routinely captured using standardized walking outcome measures of time and distance. However, these measures do not provide information on possible underlying mechanisms of recovery, nor do they tell anything about the quality of gait. Subjects with an incomplete spinal cord injury are a very heterogeneous group of people with a wide range of functional impairments. A stratification of these subjects would allow increasing sensitivity for hypothesis testing and a more targeted treatment strategy.
Methods: The gait of incomplete spinal cord injured subjects was compared to healthy control subjects by analyzing kinematic data obtained by a 3-D motion capture system. Hip–knee angle-angle plots (cyclograms) informed on the qualitative aspect of gait and the intralimb coordination. Features of the cyclogram, e.g., shape of the cyclogram, cycle-to-cycle consistency and its modulation due to changes in walking speed were discerned and used to stratify spinal cord injured subjects.
Results: Spinal cord injured subjects were unable to modulate their cyclogram configuration when increasing speed from slow to preferred. Their gait quality remained clearly aberrant and showed even higher deviations from normal when walking at preferred speed. Qualitative categorization of spinal cord injured subjects based on their intralimb coordination was complemented by quantitative measures of cyclogram shape comparison.
Discussion: Spinal cord injured subjects showed distinct distortions of intralimb coordination as well as limited modulation to changes in walking speed. The specific changes of the cyclograms revealed complementary insight in the disturbance of lower-limb control in addition to measures of time and distance and may be a useful tool for patient categorization and stratification prior to clinical trial inclusion.

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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:17 March 2014
Deposited On:27 Mar 2014 08:27
Last Modified:10 Aug 2017 07:55
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00148

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