The study aimed at quantifying the walking energy cost of a group of Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A patients (CMT1A), with low severity of walking impairment, in comparison with healthy individuals. Oxygen uptake was measured in 8 patients (age-range 20-48 years; Barthel >90; Tinetti >20) and 8 healthy individuals, matched for age and gender, when walking on a circuit for 5-min at their self-selected speeds ("slow", "comfortable" and "fast"). Both comfortable and fast speeds were lower in patients than in the control group (0.92±0.16 vs 1.16±0.22 and 1.27±0.27 vs 1.61±0.22 m s⁻¹, respectively; P<0.05), whereas walking energy cost per unit of distance was higher in patients than in the control group (P<0.05) at both "comfortable" (2.27±0.35 vs 1.92±0.21 J kg⁻¹m⁻¹) and "fast" speed (3.05±0.35 vs 2.37±0.42 J kg⁻¹m⁻¹). CMT1A patients, therefore, choose to walk slower but with higher metabolic cost compared to healthy individuals, despite no clinically evident walking impairment, which is likely due to altered walking patterns.
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