Nonlinear dynamics of walking in clinical populations 2020

Understanding the characteristics of impaired walking, in comparison to that of healthy individuals, is the key to developing and prescribing effective and efficient gait retraining interventions. Improving walking performance and quality has a high impact on the quality of life of the patients. The current project leverages UniGe’s world class facilities for collecting gait data on clinical populations in a hospital environment, alongside Exeter’s expertise in the application of non-linear dynamics analysis of gait. Combining these attributes, the aim of this project is to analyse the gait of clinical populations (e.g. children with cerebral palsy) using nonlinear dynamics analysis. The purpose is to underpin the development of gait retraining interventions to improve walking in patients with impaired gait.

Funded by the Seed Corn round of the GenEx fund, our first collaboration in 2019 has led to the development of methods to assess the nonlinear dynamics of constrained healthy gait collected at the UniGe facility. With this Seed Award, we will apply the methods developed to analyse the walking pattern of patients with gait impairments. This new application will provide pilot data to support an application for Wellcome Trust funding to apply this knowledge to underpin the development of a contemporary gait retraining and assessment protocol.

This research is at the forefront of a step-change in the analysis and subsequent understanding of impaired gait. By bringing together our two universities and research groups, outputs will be of internationally excellent, and strengthen our applications for external funding.

Participants

Dr Genevieve Williams, University of Exeter, Life and Environment Science, School of Sport and Health Sciences

Dr Stéphane Armand, University of Geneva, Department of Surgery