Presentation Title

Improving Elderly Gait with a Structured Auditory Stimulus

Advisor Information

Sara Myers

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

7-3-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 4:00 PM

Abstract

Previous studies on walking show a correlation between fall risk and gait unsteadiness. Specifically, older adults who have a history of falling demonstrate an increased magnitude of stride-to-stride variability compared to older adults with no history of falling. One current rehabilitation method, rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS), aims to restore variability to healthy levels by having the patient walk in synchrony with a metronome; however, unlike a metronome, healthy gait is not perfectly regular. In healthy young walkers, stride-to-stride variability exhibits a characteristic temporal structure, in which later strides in the series depend on earlier strides. Pathology alters this structure, causing gait to become either unsteady or too regular. This bi-directionality suggests an optimal level of variability associated with healthy gait, and divergence from this optimal value correlates with fall risk. Therefore, we feel that RAS may be improved by replacing the metronome with an auditory stimulus that is variable. Recent work shows that the variability of a pink-noise structured auditory stimulus (SAS) most closely resembles the variability in the stride time series of healthy young individuals, and that the gait variability of older individuals can be affected by walking in synchrony to such a stimulus. The results of this study indicate that the gait variability of healthy older adults can be driven with SAS, to values approaching the optimal values exhibited by healthy younger adults. This supports the feasibility of a rehabilitation technique using such a stimulus.

Comments

Winner of Meritorious Graduate Poster Presentation

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Mar 7th, 1:00 PM Mar 7th, 4:00 PM

Improving Elderly Gait with a Structured Auditory Stimulus

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Previous studies on walking show a correlation between fall risk and gait unsteadiness. Specifically, older adults who have a history of falling demonstrate an increased magnitude of stride-to-stride variability compared to older adults with no history of falling. One current rehabilitation method, rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS), aims to restore variability to healthy levels by having the patient walk in synchrony with a metronome; however, unlike a metronome, healthy gait is not perfectly regular. In healthy young walkers, stride-to-stride variability exhibits a characteristic temporal structure, in which later strides in the series depend on earlier strides. Pathology alters this structure, causing gait to become either unsteady or too regular. This bi-directionality suggests an optimal level of variability associated with healthy gait, and divergence from this optimal value correlates with fall risk. Therefore, we feel that RAS may be improved by replacing the metronome with an auditory stimulus that is variable. Recent work shows that the variability of a pink-noise structured auditory stimulus (SAS) most closely resembles the variability in the stride time series of healthy young individuals, and that the gait variability of older individuals can be affected by walking in synchrony to such a stimulus. The results of this study indicate that the gait variability of healthy older adults can be driven with SAS, to values approaching the optimal values exhibited by healthy younger adults. This supports the feasibility of a rehabilitation technique using such a stimulus.