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, 9 (1), 18392

The Walking Speed-Dependency of Gait Variability in Bilateral Vestibulopathy and Its Association With Clinical Tests of Vestibular Function

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The Walking Speed-Dependency of Gait Variability in Bilateral Vestibulopathy and Its Association With Clinical Tests of Vestibular Function

Christopher McCrum et al. Sci Rep.

Abstract

Understanding balance and gait deficits in vestibulopathy may help improve clinical care and our knowledge of the vestibular contributions to balance. Here, we examined walking speed effects on gait variability in healthy adults and in adults with bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP). Forty-four people with BVP, 12 healthy young adults and 12 healthy older adults walked at 0.4 m/s to 1.6 m/s in 0.2 m/s increments on a dual belt, instrumented treadmill. Using motion capture and kinematic data, the means and coefficients of variation for step length, time, width and double support time were calculated. The BVP group also completed a video head impulse test and examinations of ocular and cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials and dynamic visual acuity. Walking speed significantly affected all gait parameters. Step length variability at slower speeds and step width variability at faster speeds were the most distinguishing parameters between the healthy participants and people with BVP, and among people with BVP with different locomotor capacities. Step width variability, specifically, indicated an apparent persistent importance of vestibular function at increasing speeds. Gait variability was not associated with the clinical vestibular tests. Our results indicate that gait variability at multiple walking speeds has potential as an assessment tool for vestibular interventions.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Boxplots of the median, interquartile range and 5th and 95th percentile of the means of step time, step length, double support time and step width across all conducted walking speeds in BVP, Young and Older participant groups. The black horizontal lines indicate significant between group differences for the indicated speed (P < 0.05, Bonferroni adjusted).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Boxplots of the median, interquartile range and 5th and 95th percentile of the coefficients of variation (CV) of step time, step length, double support time and step width across all conducted walking speeds in BVP, Young and Older participant groups. The black horizontal lines indicate significant between group differences for the indicated speed (P < 0.05, Bonferroni adjusted).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Boxplots of the median, interquartile range and 5th and 95th percentile of the coefficients of variation (CV) of step time, step length, double support time and step width across all walking speeds with data from participant groups BVP All Gait and BVP Part Gait. The black horizontal lines indicate significant between group differences for the indicated speed (P < 0.05, Bonferroni adjusted).

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