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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 865873, 6 pages
Research Article

Attenuation of Upper Body Accelerations during Gait: Piloting an Innovative Assessment Tool for Parkinson’s Disease

1MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA), Pam Liversidge Building, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
3Institute of Neuroscience/Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, Newcastle University, Clinical Ageing Research Unit, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5PL, UK
4INSIGNEO Institute for in Silico Medicine, University of Sheffield, Pam Liversidge Building, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK

Received 21 November 2014; Accepted 21 January 2015

Academic Editor: Angelica Alonso

Copyright © 2015 Christopher Buckley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of the current investigation was to explore whether upper body accelerations obtained during gait provide sensitive measures of postural control in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Thirteen people with PD ( years) and nineteen age-matched controls ( years) walked continuously for two minutes while wearing three inertial sensors located on their lower back (L5), shoulder level (C7), and head. Magnitude (root mean square (RMS)), attenuation (attenuation coefficient), and smoothness (Harmonic ratios, HR) of the accelerations were calculated. People with PD demonstrated greater RMS, particularly in the mediolateral direction, but similar harmonic ratio of head accelerations compared to controls. In addition, they did not attenuate accelerations through the trunk and neck as well as control participants. Our findings indicate that measuring upper body movement provides unique information regarding postural control in PD and that poor attenuation of acceleration from the pelvis to the head contributes to impaired head control. This information is simple to measure and appears to be sensitive to PD and, consequently, is proposed to benefit researchers and clinicians.