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The neural correlates of discrete gait characteristics in ageing: A Structured Review

Lookup NU author(s): Joanna Wilson, Dr Liesl Allcock, Dr RĂ­ona McArdle, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD


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Gait is complex, described by diverse characteristics underpinned by widespread central nervous system networks including motor and cognitive functions. Despite this, neural substrates of discrete gait characteristics are poorly understood, limiting understanding of gait impairment in ageing and disease. This structured review aims to map gait characteristics, defined from a pre-specified model reflecting independent gait domains, to brain imaging parameters in older adults. Fifty-two studies of 38,029 yielded were reviewed. Studies showed inconsistent approaches when mapping gait assessment to neural substrates, limiting conclusions. Gait impairments typically associated with brain deterioration, specifically grey matter atrophy and white matter integrity loss. Gait velocity, a global measure of gait control, was most frequently associated with these imaging markers within frontal and basal ganglia regions, and its decline predicted from white matter volume and integrity measurements. Fewer studies assessed additional gait measures or functional imaging parameters. Future studies mapping regional neuroanatomical and functional correlates of gait are needed, including those which take a multi-process network perspective to better understand mobility in health and disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilson J, Allcock L, Mc Ardle R, Taylor JP, Rochester L

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews

Year: 2019

Volume: 100

Pages: 344-369

Print publication date: 01/05/2019

Online publication date: 13/12/2018

Acceptance date: 12/12/2018

ISSN (print): 0149-7634

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7528


DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.12.017