Production of Stiffness and Impulse during Treadmill Walking in Older Adults with Down Syndrome (DS)

Investigators: Beth A. Smith, Masa Kubo, Ken Holt, Elliott Saltzman, Beverly D. Ulrich.

We are using an escapement-driven damped inverted pendulum and spring model to ]estimate global stiffness and impulse values. Stiffness represents a conservation mechanism of soft tissue, the storage and return of elastic energy of muscles and tendons. Angular impulse is energy released into the system by the muscles to replace what is lost during each walking stride. This study advances our work investigating stiffness and impulse values during walking in toddlers and preadolescents with DS, now investigating the combined effects of DS and the neurophysiologic changes associated with aging on the production of stiffness and impulse during walking.

Participants: 12 older adults with DS and 12 adults with typical development were matched for height, weight and age (range 35 to 62 years). We used a 6-camera motion capture system to record 3-dimensional full body joint marker locations as participants walked across the room at a comfortable self-selected overground walking pace and on a treadmill at 40%, 75% and 110% of their overground speed.

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