[Abstract] Gait Performance in People with Symptomatic, Chronic Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Abstract

There is a dearth of knowledge about how symptom severity affects gait in the chronic (>3 months) mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) population despite up to 53% of people reporting persisting symptoms after mTBI. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether gait is affected in a symptomatic, chronic mTBI group and to assess the relationship between gait performance and symptom severity on the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI). Gait was assessed under single- and dual-task conditions using five inertial sensors in 57 control subjects and 65 persons with chronic mTBI (1.0 year from mTBI). The single- and dual-task gait domains of Pace, Rhythm, Variability, and Turning were calculated from individual gait characteristics. Dual-task cost (DTC) was calculated for each domain. The mTBI group walked (domain z-score mean difference, single-task = 0.70; dual-task = 0.71) and turned (z-score mean difference, single-task = 0.69; dual-task = 0.70) slower (p < 0.001) under both gait conditions, with less rhythm under dual-task gait (z-score difference = 0.21; p = 0.001). DTC was not different between groups. Higher NSI somatic subscore was related to higher single- and dual-task gait variability as well as slower dual-task pace and turning (p < 0.01). Persons with chronic mTBI and persistent symptoms exhibited altered gait, particularly under dual-task, and worse gait performance related to greater symptom severity. Future gait research in chronic mTBI should assess the possible underlying physiological mechanisms for persistent symptoms and gait deficits.

Source: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/neu.2020.6986

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