Publications by authors named "Martina Rinaldi"

9 Publications

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Progression of muscular co-activation and gait variability in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: A 2-year follow-up study.

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2020 08 3;78:105101. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Engineering, University Roma Tre, Via Vito Volterra 62, 00146 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Duchenne muscular dystrophy is an X-linked muscle disease caused by dystrophin absence. Muscle weakness is a major determinant of the gait impairments in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and it affects lower limbs more often than upper limbs. Monitoring progression of motor symptoms is key to plan treatments for prolonging ambulation.

Methods: The progression of gait impairment in a group of ten patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy was observed longitudinally three times over a period of 2 years by computerized gait analysis system. Spatio-temporal parameters of gait, and variability indicators were extracted from kinematics, while lower limb muscles coactivation were measured at the baseline and at each follow-up evaluation. The 6-min walk test was used to evaluate functional capacity at each time session.

Findings: We found a significant increase in stride width and in both stride width and stride length variability at the 1-and 2-year follow-up evaluations. Furthermore, significant higher values in proximal muscle coactivation and significant lower values in both distal muscle coactivation and functional capacity were found at the 2-year follow-up evaluation. Significant negative correlations between muscle coactivation at proximal level and functional capacity and between muscle coactivation at distal level and gait variability were observed.

Interpretation: Our findings suggest that patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy exhibit decline in functional capacity after 2 years from the baseline. Moreover, to cope with disease progression, patients try to maintain an effective gait by changing the balance dynamic strategies (i.e. increase in proximal muscle coactivation) during the course of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2020.105101DOI Listing
August 2020

Common and specific gait patterns in people with varying anatomical levels of lower limb amputation and different prosthetic components.

Hum Mov Sci 2019 Mar 16;66:9-21. Epub 2019 Mar 16.

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Hygiene, INAIL, Via Fontana Candida 1, 00078 Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy.

The present study's aim was to identify the kinematic and kinetic gait patterns and to measure the energy consumption in people with amputation according to both the anatomical level of amputation and the type of prosthetic components in comparison with a control group matched for the gait speed. Fifteen subjects with unilateral transtibial amputation (TTA), forty with unilateral transfemoral amputation (TFA) (9 with mechanical, 17 with CLeg and 14 with Genium prosthesis) and forty healthy subjects were recruited. We computed the time-distance gait parameters; the range of angular motion (RoM) at hip, knee and ankle joints, and at the trunk and pelvis; the values of the 2 peaks of vertical force curve; the full width at half maximum (FWHM) and center of activity (CoA) of vertical force; the mechanical behavior in terms of energy recovery (R-step) and energy consumption. The main results were: i) both TTA and TFA show a common gait pattern characterized by a symmetric increase of step length, step width, double support duration, pelvic obliquity, trunk lateral bending and trunk rotation RoMs compared to control groups. They show also an asymmetric increase of stance duration and of Peak1 in non-amputated side and a decrease of ankle RoM in amputated side; ii) only TFA show a specific gait pattern, depending on the level of amputation, characterized by a symmetric reduction of R-step and an asymmetric decrease of stance duration, CoA and FWHM and an increase of Peak1 in the amputated side and of hip and knee RoM, CoA and FWHM in the non-amputated side; iii) people with amputation with Genium prosthesis show a longer step length and increased hip and knee RoMs compared to people with amputation with mechanical prosthesis who conversely show an increased pelvic obliquity: these are specific gait patterns depending of the type of prosthesis. In conclusion, we identified both common and specific gait patterns in people with amputation, either regardless of, or according to their level of amputation and the type of prosthetic component.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2019.03.008DOI Listing
March 2019

Biomechanical characterization of the Junzuki karate punch: indexes of performance.

Eur J Sport Sci 2018 Jul 3;18(6):796-805. Epub 2018 Apr 3.

b Rehabilitation Centre , Policlinico Italia , Rome , Italy.

The aims of this study were: (i) to determine kinematic, kinetic, and electromyographic characteristics of Junzuki karate punch in professional karate athletes; (ii) to identify biomechanical parameters that correlate with punch force and lead to a higher punching performance; (iii) to verify the presence of muscle co-activation in the upper limb, trunk, and lower limb muscles. Data were collected from nine experienced karatekas from the Accademia Italiana Karate e Arti Marziali during the execution of the specific punch. Mean punch forces (181.2 N) delivered to the target, the range of motion of both right and left knees (1.13 and 0.82 rad) and right elbow (1.49 rad) joints, and the angles at impact (knee: 0.81 and 0.91 rad; elbow: 1.19 rad) in the sagittal plane were computed. Furthermore, the trunk rotational angular acceleration (63.1 rads), force related to the lower limbs (550.2 and 425.1 N), and co-activation index for the upper limb (36.1% and 34.7%), trunk (24.5% and 16%), and lower limbs (16.0% and 16.1%) muscles were evaluated bilaterally. Significant positive correlations were found between the punch force and both right and left knee flexion at the instant of impact and right and left leg force. Significant negative correlation was found between the punch force and maximum trunk angular acceleration. Significant differences (p = .03) in the co-activation index among the upper limb, trunk, and lower limbs muscles highlighted a rostro-caudal gradient on both body sides. This research could be of use to performers and coaches when considering training preparations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2018.1455899DOI Listing
July 2018

Dataset on gait patterns in degenerative neurological diseases.

Data Brief 2018 Feb 12;16:806-816. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18 - 00184 Roma, Italy.

We collected the gait parameters and lower limb joint kinematics of patients with three different types of primary degenerative neurological diseases: (i) cerebellar ataxia (19 patients), (ii) hereditary spastic paraparesis (26 patients), and (iii) Parkinson's disease (32 patients). Sixty-five gender-age matched healthy subjects were enrolled as control group. An optoelectronic motion analysis system was used to measure time-distance parameters and lower limb joint kinematics during gait in both patients and healthy controls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2017.12.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5773445PMC
February 2018

Identification of specific gait patterns in patients with cerebellar ataxia, spastic paraplegia, and Parkinson's disease: A non-hierarchical cluster analysis.

Hum Mov Sci 2018 Feb 28;57:267-279. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Roma, Italy.

Background: Patients with degenerative neurological diseases such as cerebellar ataxia, spastic paraplegia, and Parkinson's disease often display progressive gait function decline that inexorably impacts their autonomy and quality of life. Therefore, considering the related social and economic costs, one of the most important areas of intervention in neurorehabilitation should be the treatment of gait abnormalities. This study aims to determine whether an entire dataset of gait parameters recorded in patients with degenerative neurological diseases can be clustered into homogeneous groups distinct from each other and from healthy subjects. Patients affected by three different types of primary degenerative neurological diseases were studied. These diseases were: i) cerebellar ataxia (28 patients), ii) hereditary spastic paraplegia (31 patients), and iii) Parkinson's disease (70 patients). Sixty-five gender-age-matched healthy subjects were enrolled as a control group. An optoelectronic motion analysis system was used to measure time-distance parameters and lower limb joint kinematics during gait in both patients and healthy controls. When clustering single parameters, step width and ankle joint range of motion (RoM) in the sagittal plane differentiated cerebellar ataxia group from the other groups. When clustering sets of two, three, or four parameters, several pairs, triples, and quadruples of clusters differentiated the cerebellar ataxia group from the other groups. Interestingly, the ankle joint RoM parameter was present in 100% of the clusters and the step width in approximately 50% of clusters. In addition, in almost all clusters, patients with cerebellar ataxia showed the lowest ankle joint RoM and the largest step width values compared to healthy controls, patients with hereditary spastic paraplegia, and Parkinson's disease subjects. This study identified several clusters reflecting specific gait patterns in patients with degenerative neurological diseases. In particular, the specific gait pattern formed by the increased step width, reduced ankle joint RoM, and increased gait variability, can differentiate patients with cerebellar ataxia from healthy subjects and patients with spastic paraplegia or Parkinson's disease. These abnormal parameters may be adopted as sensitive tools for evaluating the effect of pharmacological and rehabilitative treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.humov.2017.09.005DOI Listing
February 2018

Mechanical lifting energy consumption in work activities designed by means of the "revised NIOSH lifting equation".

Ind Health 2017 Oct 7;55(5):444-454. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Hygiene, INAIL, Italy.

The aims of the present work were: to calculate lifting energy consumption (LEC) in work activities designed to have a growing lifting index (LI) by means of revised NIOSH lifting equation; to evaluate the relationship between LEC and forces at the L-S joint. The kinematic and kinetic data of 20 workers were recorded during the execution of lifting tasks in three conditions. We computed kinetic, potential and mechanical energy and the corresponding LEC by considering three different centers of mass of: 1) the load (CoM); 2) the multi-segment upper body model and load together (CoM); 3) the whole body and load together (CoM). We also estimated compression and shear forces. Results shows that LEC calculated for CoM and CoM grew significantly with the LI and that all the lifting condition pairs are discriminated. The correlation analysis highlighted a relationship between LEC and forces that determine injuries at the L-S joint.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2486/indhealth.2017-0075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5633360PMC
October 2017

Increased lower limb muscle coactivation reduces gait performance and increases metabolic cost in patients with hereditary spastic paraparesis.

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon) 2017 Oct 29;48:63-72. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Rehabilitation Centre, Policlinico Italia, Piazza del Campidano 6, 00162 Rome, Italy; Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Rome Sapienza, Via Faggiana 34, 04100 Latina, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the lower limb muscle coactivation and its relationship with muscles spasticity, gait performance, and metabolic cost in patients with hereditary spastic paraparesis.

Methods: Kinematic, kinetic, electromyographic and energetic parameters of 23 patients and 23 controls were evaluated by computerized gait analysis system. We computed ankle and knee antagonist muscle coactivation indexes throughout the gait cycle and during the subphases of gait. Energy consumption and energy recovery were measured as well. In addition to the correlation analysis between coactivation indexes and clinical variables, correlations between coactivation indexes and time-distance, kinematic, kinetic, and energetic parameters were estimated.

Findings: Increased coactivity indexes of both knee and ankle muscles throughout the gait cycle and during the subphases of gait were observed in patients compared with controls. Energetic parameters were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Both knee and ankle muscle coactivation indexes were positively correlated with knee and ankle spasticity (Ashworth score), respectively. Knee and ankle muscle coactivation indexes were both positively correlated with energy consumption and both negatively correlated with energy recovery.

Interpretation: Positive correlations between the Ashworth score and lower limb muscle coactivation suggest that abnormal lower limb muscle coactivation in patients with hereditary spastic paraparesis reflects a primary deficit linked to lower limb spasticity. Furthermore, these abnormalities influence the energetic mechanisms during walking. Identifying excessive muscle coactivation may be helpful in individuating the rehabilitative treatments and designing specific orthosis to restrain spasticity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2017.07.013DOI Listing
October 2017

Progression of Gait Ataxia in Patients with Degenerative Cerebellar Disorders: a 4-Year Follow-Up Study.

Cerebellum 2017 06;16(3):629-637

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Faggiana 1668, 40100, Latina, Italy.

In the present study, the progression of gait impairment in a group of patients with primary degenerative cerebellar ataxias was observed over a period of 4 years. A total of 30 patients underwent an initial gait analysis study, and thereafter only 12 were evaluated because they completed the 2- and 4-year follow-up evaluations. Time-distance parameters, trunk and joint range of motion (RoM), and variability parameters (e.g., coefficients of variation) were measured at the baseline and at each follow-up evaluation. The scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA) was used to evaluate disease severity. We found a significant increase in the SARA score at both the 2- and 4-year follow-up evaluations. Almost all the gait variables changed significantly only at the 4-year follow-up. Particularly, we found a significant decrease in the step length and in the hip, knee, and ankle joint RoM values and noted a significant increase in the trunk rotation RoM and stride-to-stride and step length variability. Furthermore, a significant difference in ankle joint RoM was found between spinocerebellar ataxia and sporadic adult-onset ataxia patients, with the value being lower in the former group of patients. Our findings suggest that patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxias exhibit gait decline after 4 years from the baseline. Moreover, patients try to maintain an effective gait by adopting different compensatory mechanisms during the course of the disease in spite of disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-016-0837-2DOI Listing
June 2017

Gait Patterns in Patients with Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis.

PLoS One 2016 12;11(10):e0164623. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Rome Sapienza, Latina, Italy.

Background: Spastic gait is a key feature in patients with hereditary spastic paraparesis, but the gait characterization and the relationship between the gait impairment and clinical characteristics have not been investigated.

Objectives: To describe the gait patterns in hereditary spastic paraparesis and to identify subgroups of patients according to specific kinematic features of walking.

Methods: We evaluated fifty patients by computerized gait analysis and compared them to healthy participants. We computed time-distance parameters of walking and the range of angular motion at hip, knee, and ankle joints, and at the trunk and pelvis. Lower limb joint moments and muscle co-activation values were also evaluated.

Results: We identified three distinct subgroups of patients based on the range of motion values. Subgroup one was characterized by reduced hip, knee, and ankle joint range of motion. These patients were the most severely affected from a clinical standpoint, had the highest spasticity, and walked at the slowest speed. Subgroup three was characterized by an increased hip joint range of motion, but knee and ankle joint range of motion values close to control values. These patients were the most mildly affected and had the highest walking speed. Finally, subgroup two showed reduced knee and ankle joint range of motion, and hip range of motion values close to control values. Disease severity and gait speed in subgroup two were between those of subgroups one and three.

Conclusions: We identified three distinctive gait patterns in patients with hereditary spastic paraparesis that correlated robustly with clinical data. Distinguishing specific features in the gait patterns of these patients may help tailor pharmacological and rehabilitative treatments and may help evaluate therapeutic effects over time.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0164623PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5061421PMC
May 2017