Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 7, 2015
   Pages 805 — 814

Abstract — Reduced gait automaticity in female patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: Case-control study

Jan b Eyskens, MSc PT, DO, Pr Ph;1* Jo Nijs, PhD;2 Kristien Wouters;34 Greta Moorkens, MD, PhD1,4

1Department of Internal Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium; 2Pain in Motion Research Group, Departments of Human Physiology and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, and Department of Physical Medicine and Physiotherapy, University Hospital Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; 3Department of Scientific Coordination and Biostatistics, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium; 4Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Abstract — Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) report difficulties walking for a prolonged period of time. This study compares gait automaticity between women with CFS and nondisabled controls. The "stops walking with eyes closed with secondary cognitive task" test is based on the classic "stops walking while talking" test but compares walking with eyes closed while performing a secondary cognitive task in a female CFS population (n = 34) and in female nondisabled controls (n = 38). When initiating gate, 23.5% of patients with CFS looked toward the ground compared with only 2.6% of nondisabled controls. After 7 m, subjects were asked to close their eyes, and after another 7 m, they were asked, "How much is 100 minus 7?" Of the patients with CFS, 55.9% stopped walking compared with 5.3% of nondisabled controls. Less automated walking was observed in patients with CFS than in nondisabled controls (p < 0.001). The test-retest reliability is moderate for global stopping. This simple test observed reduced gait automaticity in patients with CFS for the first time. Dual tasking could be helpful to address the functional limitations found in this particular study.

Key words: automaticity of walking, balance, chronic fatigue syndrome, dual tasking, gait, graded exercise therapy, movement, physical performance, timed loaded standing, vision.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 52, No.7

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Eyskens JB, Nijs J, Wouters K, Moorkens G. Reduced gait automaticity in female patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: Case-control study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015; 52(7):805–14.
ResearcherID: Jan b Eyskens, MSc PT, DO, Pr Ph: B-8552-2015; Jo Nijs, PhD: B-3336-2011; Greta Moorkens, MD, PhD: B-8776-2015

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