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Gait variability as digital biomarker of disease severity in Huntington's disease

: Gaßner, H.; Jensen, D.; Marxreiter, F.; Kletsch, A.; Bohlen, S.; Schubert, R.; Muratori, L.M.; Eskofier, B.; Klucken, J.; Winkler, J.; Reilmann, R.; Kohl, Z.

Fulltext ()

Journal of neurology 267 (2020), No.6, pp.1594-1601
ISSN: 0340-5354
ISSN: 0012-1037
ISSN: 0939-1517
ISSN: 1619-800X
ISSN: 1432-1459
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IIS ()

Background: Impaired gait plays an important role for quality of life in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD). Measuring objective gait parameters in HD might provide an unbiased assessment of motor deficits in order to determine potential beneficial effects of future treatments. Objective: To objectively identify characteristic features of gait in HD patients using sensor-based gait analysis. Particularly, gait parameters were correlated to the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale, total motor score (TMS), and total functional capacity (TFC). Methods: Patients with manifest HD at two German sites (n = 43) were included and clinically assessed during their annual ENROLL-HD visit. In addition, patients with HD and a cohort of age- and gender-matched controls performed a defined gait test (4 × 10 m walk). Gait patterns were recorded by inertial sensors attached to both shoes. Machine learning algorithms were applied to calculate spatio-temporal gait parameters and gait variability expressed as coefficient of variance (CV). Results: Stride length (− 15%) and gait velocity (− 19%) were reduced, while stride (+ 7%) and stance time (+ 2%) were increased in patients with HD. However, parameters reflecting gait variability were substantially altered in HD patients (+ 17% stride length CV up to + 41% stride time CV with largest effect size) and showed strong correlations to TMS and TFC (0.416 ≤ rSp ≤ 0.690). Objective gait variability parameters correlated with disease stage based upon TFC. Conclusions: Sensor-based gait variability parameters were identified as clinically most relevant digital biomarker for gait impairment in HD. Altered gait variability represents characteristic irregularity of gait in HD and reflects disease severity.