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May 2022

Walking patterns and finger rhythm of older adults

Author(s): Itoh, H., Hashizume, K., Furuna, T.

Journal/Book: Percept Mot Skills. 1996; 82: PO Box 9229, Missoula, MT 59807. Perceptual Motor Skills. 435-447.

Abstract: Walking patterns and rhythmic movement of the fingers were examined in a total of 1,134 male and female community residents 65 years of age and over. Walking patterns were characterized according to the ratio of step length divided by step rate (cadence), called the Walk Ratio, during level walking at preferred and maximum speeds. The walking pattern tended to change according to age; older subjects walked with shorter steps (smaller Walk Ratio). Rhythmic movement was examined using the finger-tapping test in time to the sound of a 4-Hz metronome. Hastened tapping or finger festination, in which the subject tapped faster than requested (constant error of 3 msec. and over in the intertap interval), was characteristic of aging; 16.8% of the subjects exhibited finger festination and the occurrence increased with age, especially among those in their eighties (29.3%). Finger festination was accompanied by walking patterns with an increased step rate, or a smaller Walk Ratio. These characteristics of aging were discussed as similar to extrapyramidal symptoms of walking and rhythm production in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Note: Article H Nagasaki, Tokyo Metropolitan Inst Gerontol, Itabashi Ku, 35-2 Sakaecho, Tokyo 117, Japan


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