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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 May;80(5):1448-57.

Fractal dynamics of human gait: stability of long-range correlations in stride interval fluctuations.

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Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.
Beth Israel Hosp, Boston, MA


Fractal dynamics were recently detected in the apparently "noisy" variations in the stride interval of human walking. Dynamical analysis of these step-to-step fluctuations revealed a self-similar pattern: fluctuations at one time scale are statistically similar to those at multiple other time scales, at least over hundreds of steps, while healthy subjects walk at their normal rate. To study the stability of this fractal property, we analyzed data obtained from healthy subjects who walked for 1 h at their usual, slow, and fast paces. The stride interval fluctuations exhibited long-range correlations with power-law decay for up to 1,000 strides at all 3 walking rates. In contrast, during metronomically paced walking, these long-range correlations disappeared; variations in the stride interval were random (uncorrelated) and nonfractal. The long-range correlations observed during spontaneous walking were not affected by removal of drifts in the time series. Thus the fractal dynamics of spontaneous stride interval are normally quite robust and intrinsic to the locomotor system. Furthermore, this fractal property of neural output may be related to the higher nervous centers responsible for the control of walking rhythm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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