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Gait analysis and early dementia detection: Close link revealed in latest research

Updated: Mar 21


Latest research suggests a close link between gait analysis and early dementia detection

Gait analysis, often overlooked in routine healthcare, has emerged as a powerful tool in the early detection of dementia. Recent advancements highlight its potential to detect subtle changes in walking patterns, offering insights into cognitive decline long before traditional symptoms manifest. This article explores the latest developments in gait analysis, its implications for dementia diagnosis, and the burgeoning industry driving its adoption in healthcare.


Significance of gait analysis in healthcare


Despite its historical underutilization, gait analysis has garnered attention for its association with overall health. Recognized as the "6th vital sign," gait speed has long been correlated with falls, functional status, and various health factors, according to a OneStep blog post. Latest studies link gait speed with cognitive decline, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Furthermore, temporal-spatial parameters of gait, such as stride length and variability, are strong predictors of fall risk. The integration of smartphone-based gait analysis has democratized its accessibility, paving the way for routine health assessment.


Smartphones have built-in sensors that capture inertial data, such as orientation and acceleration, based on the position and movement of the phone.


Using this data and proprietary machine learning algorithms, OneStep extracts accurate spatiotemporal gait parameters whenever someone carries their phone in their pocket.


Detecting dementia through gait analysis


A recent breakthrough in gait analysis has unveiled its potential in detecting and distinguishing different types of dementia. Neuropsychologist Mitzi Gonzales highlights the significance of changes in gait patterns as indicators of cognitive decline, in an article released by UT Health San Antonio. While it's common for individuals to exhibit slower gait during tasks, those with neurodegenerative disorders display more pronounced alterations. Gonzales suggests that distinct walking patterns may differentiate conditions like Lewy body dementia from Alzheimer's disease. However, she underscores the complexity of analyzing gait changes in older adults, considering factors like orthopedic injuries. This latest discovery underscores the need for sophisticated gait analysis techniques to discern true signatures of cognitive decline amidst various confounding factors.


Industry overview of gait analysis systems


The global gait analyzer market, valued at US$1,213 million in 2022, is expected to witness substantial growth in the coming years. With a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2018 to 2030, driven by the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the market is anticipated to reach US$2383.1 million by 2029, reflecting a CAGR of 10.6% during the forecast period.


The global gait analysis system market is witnessing significant growth, driven by increasing demand for both human and veterinary applications. Hospitals, research institutes, and rehabilitation centers are key adopters of gait analysis systems, with hospitals dominating due to their diverse applications in musculoskeletal care and orthopedic trauma management.


Key players in the gait analysis system market include KINVENT, ReTiSense, DyCare, and Zebris Medical, TSE Systems, Noraxon, Tekscan, Fit Fur Life and Eloi Podologie. These manufacturers are at the forefront of innovation, developing cutting-edge technologies to enhance gait analysis accuracy and accessibility. In 2021, the top five manufacturers held a significant revenue share, reflecting the market's competitive landscape and potential for growth.


Conclusion


Gait analysis is poised to revolutionize healthcare, offering insights into patients' overall health and aiding in early disease detection. The latest breakthrough in dementia detection underscores its potential to transform diagnostic practices and improve patient outcomes. As the industry continues to evolve, collaborations between healthcare providers and technology developers will drive innovation, expanding the reach and impact of gait analysis in healthcare. With its ability to detect subtle changes in gait patterns, gait analysis holds immense promise for the future of dementia diagnosis and personalized patient care.


Source: OneStep, UT Health San Antonio

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