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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043104. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

The effects of rhythmic sensory cues on the temporal dynamics of human gait.

Author information

1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America. esejdic@ieee.org

Abstract

Walking is a complex, rhythmic task performed by the locomotor system. However, natural gait rhythms can be influenced by metronomic auditory stimuli, a phenomenon of particular interest in neurological rehabilitation. In this paper, we examined the effects of aural, visual and tactile rhythmic cues on the temporal dynamics associated with human gait. Data were collected from fifteen healthy adults in two sessions. Each session consisted of five 15-minute trials. In the first trial of each session, participants walked at their preferred walking speed. In subsequent trials, participants were asked to walk to a metronomic beat, provided through visually, aurally, tactile or all three cues (simultaneously and in sync), the pace of which was set to the preferred walking speed of the first trial. Using the collected data, we extracted several parameters including: gait speed, mean stride interval, stride interval variability, scaling exponent and maximum Lyapunov exponent. The extracted parameters showed that rhythmic sensory cues affect the temporal dynamics of human gait. The auditory rhythmic cue had the greatest influence on the gait parameters, while the visual cue had no statistically significant effect on the scaling exponent. These results demonstrate that visual rhythmic cues could be considered as an alternative cueing modality in rehabilitation without concern of adversely altering the statistical persistence of walking.

PMID:
22927946
PMCID:
PMC3424126
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0043104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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