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  • Author: Michael D. Lewek x
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Guneet Chawla, Madelon Hoppe, Nina Browner and Michael D. Lewek

The purpose of this study was to determine the difference in spatiotemporal gait measures induced by stepping to the beat of a metronome and to music cues of various frequencies in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Twenty-one participants with Parkinson’s disease were instructed to time their steps to a metronome and music cues (at 85%, 100%, and 115% of overground cadence). The authors calculated cadence, cadence accuracy, and step length during each cue condition and an uncued control condition. The music and metronome cues produced comparable results in cadence manipulation, with reduced cadence accuracy noted at slower intended frequencies. Nevertheless, the induced cadence elicited a concomitant alteration in step length. The music and metronome cues produced comparable changes to gait, but suggest that temporal control is more limited at slower frequencies, presumably by the challenge of increasing the step length.

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Michael D. Lewek, Claire E. Bradley, Clinton J. Wutzke and Steven M. Zinder

Falls are common after stroke and often attributed to poor balance. Falls often occur during walking, suggesting that walking patterns may induce a loss of balance. Gait after stroke is frequently spatiotemporally asymmetric, which may decrease balance. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between spatiotemporal gait asymmetry and balance control. Thirty-nine individuals with chronic stroke walked at comfortable and fast speeds to calculate asymmetry ratios for step length, stance time, and swing time. Balance measures included the Berg Balance Scale, step width during gait, and the weight distribution between legs during standing. Correlational analyses determined the relationships between balance and gait asymmetry. At comfortable and fast gait speeds, step width was correlated with stance time and swing time asymmetries (r = 0.39−0.54). Berg scores were correlated with step length and swing time asymmetries (r = –0.36 to –0.63). During fast walking, the weight distribution between limbs was correlated with stance time asymmetry (r = –0.41). Spatiotemporal gait asymmetry was more closely related to balance measures involving dynamic tasks than static tasks, suggesting that gait asymmetry may be related to the high number of falls poststroke. Further study to determine if rehabilitation that improves gait asymmetry has a similar influence on balance is warranted.