Let’s take a look at the research article, Quantitative Gait Analysis in Duplication 15q Syndrome and Nonsyndromic ASD, which explains how using quantitative gait analysis tools, such as ProtoKinetics Zeno Electronic Walkway and Gait Analysis Software, can teach us more about developmental disorders.  

Motor Impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Motor impairments, particularly abnormalities in walking, are commonly found in genetic syndromes, such as autism spectrum disorder (syndromic ASD), and are often one of the earliest indications of atypical development. In particular, irregularities in gait in ASD have also been linked to language delays, ASD severity, and the likelihood of having a genetic disorder. 

The prevalence of these motor impairments among individuals with ASD, and the impact of motor developments, support the need for improved characterization of motor development for both syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD. Therefore, gait analysis systems provide a means by which underlying health problems are discovered and clinical interventions are designed and measured. With the proper quantitative gait equipment and software, it can be a monumental step towards the improvement of early detection and identification of potential treatment targets. 

Studying Quantitative Gait Variables Using Protokinetics Zeno Electronic Walkway and Movement Analysis Software

Previously, measurements of motor skills in individuals with syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD were simply collected from caregiver reports. Although this was beneficial in some ways, the reports focused on developmental milestones, lacking details of measurement. Researchers, in this study, incorporated the use of Protokinetics Zeno Electronic Walkway and Protokinetics Movement Analysis Software (PKMAS) to better obtain and analyze the quantitative gait data. ProtoKinetics, a leading developer of gait analysis software and assessment systems, used the Zeno Electronic Walkway, which has a 16-level pressure sensing pad that detects footfalls, produces data and videos, alongside custom visuals and temporal, spatial, and pressure value. ProtoKinetics Movement Analysis Software (PKMAS) took that data and produces clinically relevant assessments, verified and validated clinical interventions, temporal, spatial, and pressure measurements, and quantitative, objective, non-invasive gait measurements. 

In the study, quantitative gait analysis was not only used to examine ASD, but also, Duplication 15q Syndrome (dup15q syndrome), a genetic disorder highly penetrant for motor delays, intellectual disability, and ASD. The study evaluated quantitative gait variables in 39 individuals with dup15q syndrome and 21 individuals with nonsyndromic ASD. Afterward, researchers compared the collected data from the two groups to a reference cohort (typical development). 

Measurable Data Providing Answers for Future Treatment Trials

The results of the Protokinetics Zeno Electronic Walkway and Movement Analysis Software (PKMAS) identified a slow pace, poor postural control, and large gait variability in dup15q syndrome. In the end, their findings allowed for the improvement of motor function in both dup15q syndrome and nonsyndromic ASD. 

In the future, the plan is to longitudinally follow gait maturation patterns by continuing to use quantitative gait analysis tools, such as ProtoKinetics walkway and PKMAS software. These tools will tremendously help in evaluating individuals with dup15q syndrome and other genetic syndromes penetrant for ASD. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of this work is to develop quantitative motor parameters that could serve as answers for future treatment trials. 

To learn more about ProtoKinetics’ quantitative gait analytics tools, visit https://protokinetics.wpengine.com/.  To request a demonstration, click here