Laboratory versus daily life gait characteristics in patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and matched controls

Vrutangkumar V. Shah, James McNames, Martina Mancini, Patricia Carlson-Kuhta, Rebecca I. Spain, John G. Nutt, Mahmoud El-Gohary, Carolin Curtze, Fay B. Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Recent findings suggest that a gait assessment at a discrete moment in a clinic or laboratory setting may not reflect functional, everyday mobility. As a step towards better understanding gait during daily life in neurological populations, we compared gait measures that best discriminated people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) from their respective, age-matched, healthy control subjects (MS-Ctl, PD-Ctl) in laboratory tests versus a week of daily life monitoring. Methods: We recruited 15 people with MS (age mean ± SD: 49 ± 10 years), 16 MS-Ctl (45 ± 11 years), 16 people with idiopathic PD (71 ± 5 years), and 15 PD-Ctl (69 ± 7 years). Subjects wore 3 inertial sensors (one each foot and lower back) in the laboratory followed by 7 days during daily life. Mann–Whitney U test and area under the curve (AUC) compared differences between PD and PD-Ctl, and between MS and MS-Ctl in the laboratory and in daily life. Results: Participants wore sensors for 60–68 h in daily life. Measures that best discriminated gait characteristics in people with MS and PD from their respective control groups were different between the laboratory gait test and a week of daily life. Specifically, the toe-off angle best discriminated MS versus MS-Ctl in the laboratory (AUC [95% CI] = 0.80 [0.63–0.96]) whereas gait speed in daily life (AUC = 0.84 [0.69–1.00]). In contrast, the lumbar coronal range of motion best discriminated PD versus PD-Ctl in the laboratory (AUC = 0.78 [0.59–0.96]) whereas foot-strike angle in daily life (AUC = 0.84 [0.70–0.98]). AUCs were larger in daily life compared to the laboratory. Conclusions: Larger AUC for daily life gait measures compared to the laboratory gait measures suggest that daily life monitoring may be more sensitive to impairments from neurological disease, but each neurological disease may require different gait outcome measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Free-living
  • Gait
  • Laboratory
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics


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