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A method for calculating fall risk parameters from discrete stride time series regardless of sensor placement.

Gait & Posture 2024 May 4
BACKGROUND: To complement traditional clinical fall risk assessments, research is oriented towards adding real-life gait-related fall risk parameters (FRP) using inertial sensors fixed to a specific body position. While fixing the sensor position can facilitate data processing, it can reduce user compliance. A newly proposed step detection method, Smartstep, has been proven to be robust against sensor position and real-life challenges. Moreover, FRP based on step variability calculated from stride times (Standard deviation (SD), Coefficient of Variance (Cov), fractal exponent, and sample entropy of stride duration) proved to be useful to prospectively predict the fall risk.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS: To evaluate whether Smartstep is convenient for calculating FRP from different sensor placements.

METHODS: 29 elderly performed a 6-minute walking test with IMU placed on the waist and the wrist. FRP were computed from step-time estimated from Smartstep and compared to those obtained from foot-mounted inertial sensors: precision and recall of the step detection, Root mean square error (RMSE) and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) of stride durations, and limits of agreement of FRP.

RESULTS: The step detection precision and recall were respectively 99.5% and 95.9% for the waist position, and 99.4% and 95.7% for the wrist position. The ICC and RMSE of stride duration were 0.91 and 54 ms respectively for both the waist and the hand position. The limits of agreement of Cov, SD, fractal exponent, and sample entropy of stride duration are respectively 2.15%, 25 ms, 0.3, 0.5 for the waist and 1.6%, 16 ms, 0.23, 0.4 for the hand.

SIGNIFICANCE: Robust against the elderly's gait and different body locations, especially the wrist, this method can open doors toward ambulatory measurements of steps, and calculation of different discrete stride-related falling risk indicators.

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