Motion capture laboratories can measure multiple variables at high frame rates, but we can only measure the average metabolic rate of a stride using respiratory measurements. Biomechanical simulations with equations for calculating metabolic rate can estimate the time profile of metabolic rate within the stride cycle. A variety of methods and metabolic equations have been proposed, including metabolic time profile estimations based on joint parameters. It is unclear whether differences in estimations are due to differences in experimental data or due to methodological differences. This study aimed to compare two methods for estimating the time profile of metabolic rate, within a single dataset. Knowledge about the consistency of different methods could be useful for applications such as detecting which part of the gait cycle causes increased metabolic cost in patients. Here we compare estimations of metabolic rate time profiles using a musculoskeletal and a joint-space method. The musculoskeletal method was driven by kinematics and electromyography data and used muscle metabolic rate equations, whereas the joint-space method used metabolic rate equations based on joint parameters. Both estimations of changes in stride average metabolic rate correlated significantly with large changes in indirect calorimetry from walking on different grades showing that both methods accurately track changes. However, estimations of changes in stride average metabolic rate did not correlate significantly with more subtle changes in indirect calorimetry due to walking with different shoe inclinations, and both the musculoskeletal and joint-space time profile estimations did not correlate significantly with each other except in the most downward shoe inclination. Estimations of the relative cost of stance and swing matched well with previous simulations with similar methods and estimations from experimental perturbations. Rich experimental datasets could further advance time profile estimations. This knowledge could be useful to develop therapies and assistive devices that target the least metabolically economic part of the gait cycle.
PLoS Computational Biology
Mohammadzadeh Gonabadi A, Antonellis P, Malcolm P (2020) Differences between joint-space and musculoskeletal estimations of metabolic rate time profiles. PLoS Comput Biol 16(10): e1008280. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008280
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