Rhythmic auditory-motor entrainment of gait patterns in adults with blindness or severe visual impairment
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The following study investigates the impact of a rhythmic cue on the observational gait parameters of a population of adults with blindness or severe visual impairment. Forty-six adults who had sight loss significant enough to require the use of a long cane for mobility purposes participated in the study. Participants were between the ages of 18 - 70 years. The study design was a within-subjects, repeated measures design with two levels for the independent variable of the metronome (uncued versus cued) and two levels for the independent variable of tempo (normal walk versus fast walk). Dependent variables of cadence (steps per minute), velocity (meters per minute), and stride length (cadence ÷ (velocity ⁄ 2)) were recorded. Within-subjects repeated measures statistical analyses identified a main effect for the independent variable of the metronome; subsequent analysis revealed that the metronome had a significant effect on the dependent variable of cadence. The presence of a rhythmic cue seemed to improve observational gait parameters for many of the study participants. A more in-depth investigation reveals the complex interrelationship of gait parameters, as well as the need to differentiate between the clinical importance of the study and the need for additional basic scientific research. While compelling clinical inferences can be drawn from this study, there continues to be a need to establish rhythmic auditory-motor entrainment as a sound theoretical framework upon which further research and clinical protocol development for this sample population can be based.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of Literature -- Methods -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Facility permission letter -- Appendix B. Participant solicitation script -- Appendix C. Narrative script