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Human gait is symmetric and bilaterally coordinated in young healthy persons. In this study, we aimed to explore the differences in bilateral coordination of gait as measured by the phase coordination index (PCI), gait asymmetry, and stride time variability of gait between four age groups. A total of 44 older adults were recruited: nine young-old (age 70–74 years), 26 old (age 75–84 years), nine old-old (>85 years and older), and 13 young adults (age 20–30 years). Subjects walked on a treadmill; walking speed was systematically increased from 0.5 to 0.9 m/s in steps of 0.1 m/s. There were marginal effects of age on PCI, significant main effects of walking speeds without interaction between walking speeds and age group. A difference in PCI could distinguish between young’s and late aging group, and only during their preferred treadmills walking speed. This study explicitly shows that bilateral coordination of walking is modified by gait speed, and deteriorates only at a very old age.

Gimmon, Rashad, Kurz, and Melzer are with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Gimmon is also with the Center of Advanced Technologies in Rehabilitation, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel. Plotnik is with the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Riemer is with the Dept. of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Debi is with Orthopedic Dept., Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon, Israel. Shapiro is with the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Address author correspondence to Itshak Melzer at itzikm@bgu.ac.il.
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