Dosage effect on neuromuscular retention of a fractal gait pattern using a visual stimulus

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Logan J. Frame (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christopher Rhea

Abstract: Our view of certain gait disorders has changed with the development of new interventions for gait training. Recent gait research has suggested that humans do not walk with metronomic patterns, but with fractal patterns. Fractal patterns which are a common characteristic across nearly every human sub-system when healthy (e.g., gait, balance, heart rate, breathing rate, ect.). The patterns suggest that variability within a system is adaptive and healthy as opposed to the once held position that variability within a system was maladaptive. However, with the discovery of gait variability comes new questions about how to best help those who suffer from abnormal gait. One new area of research proposes that metronomes providing a variable stimulus, called fractal metronomes, could be used to redevelop adaptive patterns in clinical populations with abnormal gait. While immediate retention of these newly developed patterns has been shown immediately after and 5 minutes after a single session of training, the patterns revert back to pre-training levels after 24 hours, suggesting that there is a dosage effect associated with this type of training. Longer-term retention is needed to ensure that these interventions have promise in helping patients with a pathology. Therefore, the goal of this thesis was to explore how seven days of training to a fractal metronome would impact the retention of new fractal gait characteristics. It was hypothesized that: (1) participants would exhibit a stronger coupling of their gait to the fractal stimulus with increased practice (i.e., assessed via cross correlations across days) and (2) immediate retention (i.e., directly after training) and longer-term retention (i.e., 24 hours after training) would increase as a function of increased practice. Hypothesis 1 was supported with the observation that the cross-correlation between and with subjects increased across the seven days of training. However, that did not translate to immediate or longer-term retention, thus hypothesis 2 was not supported. It is important to note that embedded within the testing for hypothesis 2 was the observation that participants’ fractal patterns got stronger during the training phase across the seven days, it was just not transferred to the overground walking that was used to examine immediate and longer-term retention. The results of this study suggest that fractal gait patterns can be strengthened with multiple days of training. However, future work should provide fractal gait training overground and then test retention overground to remove the confound of training on a treadmill and then retention testing overground.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Dosage Effect, Fractal, Gait, Retention
Gait in humans
Gait disorders
Metronome $x Therapeutic use

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