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Open AccessArticle

General Mental Health Is Associated with Gait Asymmetry

1
Institute for Health and Sport (IHeS), Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
2
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8574, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(22), 4908; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19224908
Received: 8 October 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Affective Computing and Sentiment Analysis)
Wearable sensors are being applied to real-world motion monitoring and the focus of this work is assessing health status and wellbeing. An extensive literature has documented the effects on gait control of impaired physical health, but in this project, the aim was to determine whether emotional states associated with older people’s mental health are also associated with walking mechanics. If confirmed, wearable sensors could be used to monitor affective responses. Lower limb gait mechanics of 126 healthy individuals (mean age 66.2 ± 8.38 years) were recorded using a high-speed 3D motion sensing system and they also completed a 12-item mental health status questionnaire (GHQ-12). Mean step width and minimum foot-ground clearance (MFC), indicative of tripping risk, were moderately correlated with GHQ-12. Ageing and variability (SD) of gait parameters were not significantly correlated with GHQ-12. GHQ-12 scores were, however, highly correlated with left-right gait control, indicating that greater gait symmetry was associated with better mental health. Maintaining good mental health with ageing may promote safer gait and wearable sensor technologies could be applied to gait asymmetry monitoring, possibly using a single inertial measurement unit attached to each shoe. View Full-Text
Keywords: motion capture; mental health; ageing; gait asymmetry; minimum foot clearance; falls prevention motion capture; mental health; ageing; gait asymmetry; minimum foot clearance; falls prevention
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nagano, H.; Sarashina, E.; Sparrow, W.; Mizukami, K.; Begg, R. General Mental Health Is Associated with Gait Asymmetry. Sensors 2019, 19, 4908.

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