Quantifying coordination of human gait : fall risk and effects of aging
Author(s)Oeding, Jacob F.
Fall risk and effects of aging
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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Falls have become an immense source of physical, social, and economic hardship among older adults. Compromised coordination, defined as a decrease in the ability to properly time the motion of body segments with one another, is thought to be one factor contributing to the high rate of falls in older populations. Thus, coordination is often used by clinicians as a measure to help identify a patient's risk of falling, as well as by therapists to design targeted rehabilitative programs with the goal of reducing that fall risk. However, these assessments are currently evaluated subjectively, motivating the need for an objective measure of coordination. The aims of this study were to assess age-related differences in inter-joint coordination during the timed "Up and Go" (TUG) test of functional movement in an attempt to provide more information regarding the underlying coordination patterns of older adults that might contribute to an increased fall risk. Motion data from fourteen older and fifteen young adults performing the TUG test were analyzed using the Relative Coordination Metric (RCM). Significant differences in TUG task completion time were found between young and old populations. While TUG task completion time has been shown to correlate strongly with fall risk, no significant differences in RCM values were found when averaging across the gait phases. While older adults might require more time to complete a TUG task, the basic inter-joint coordination patterns utilized during gait seems to be preserved, suggesting a potential mechanism by which the brain is able to compensate for physiological changes due to aging.
Thesis: S.B. in Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 20-21).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology