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CITRIS Research Exchange – Carolynn Patten on Digital Phenotypes of Normal and Pathological Human Gait

A CITRIS Research Exchange Seminar with speaker Carolynn Patten 

TALK TITLE: Digital Phenotypes of Normal and Pathological Human Gait

SPEAKER: Dr. Carolynn Patten, Director and Professor, Biomechanics, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Neuroscience, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UC Davis

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BIO: Dr. Patten is a neuroscientist and physical therapist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of motor dysfunction associated with aging and adult neuropathologies, such as stroke. She directs the UC Davis Biomechanics, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Lab and Co-Directs the UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine.
Dr. Patten’s research focuses on understanding the neural basis of human movement, investigating human motor control and adaptation from a perspective of neuromechanics. Using concurrent behavioral and neurophysiological methods, her laboratory has developed techniques sensitive to motor impairment. Current work to be discussed in this CITRIS seminar uses gait as an assay of brain health to develop a predictive biomarker of subclinical/emerging pathology.
Dr. Patten’s research is supported by the NIH (NIBIB, NIA, NINDS), NSF, Dept. of Veterans Affairs (Rehabilitation R&D), and Healthy Aging in a Digital World, a UC Davis Big Idea.

ABSTRACT: Nearly half the U.S. population (~47%) is affected by at least one chronic condition affecting health, independent mobility, and quality of life. Early detection and management of these conditions would improve quality of life and forestall disabling sequelae. However, there is a need for efficient screening tools to enable the detection of emerging and sub-clinical pathologies among individuals in our rapidly aging population.
One of the most common metrics used to quantify mobility is self-selected walking speed. Robust associations with overall physical functioning and systemic health have inspired reference to walking speed as the “sixth vital sign.” While its relevance has been established and it is straightforward to measure, gait speed is influenced by myriad factors, thus differences and simple changes in gait speed offer only a limited scope of information regarding either the source of mobility limitations or their potential for remediation.
Recent work from our lab has led to the development of the Assessment of Bilateral Locomotor Efficacy (ABLE) an instrument that assesses key functions of human bipedal locomotion. Unlike walking speed, the ABLE reveals non-overlapping clusters of performance, indicating its capacity to discriminate between critical levels of physical functioning. Critically, the ABLE detects mobility impairment in ostensibly healthy adults with no observable gait impairment and normal walking speed. Verified with their health data, this observation reveals the ABLE’s potential to detect sub-clinical, or emerging, gait pathology in so-called normal, healthy individuals. Motivated by our goal of making the ABLE accessible to both clinical and community settings, our current work centers around the use of tools to acquire valid gait data with portable technologies, independent from an instrumented research lab, and efficient methods to analyze high-dimensional data sets. Used as a screening procedure, the ABLE could provide early detection of medical needs, facilitate preventative care, and inform management of chronic health conditions.

ABOUT THE SERIES: CITRIS Research Exchange delivers fresh perspectives on information technology and society from distinguished academic, industry, and civic leaders. Free and open to the public, this series highlights leading voices on societal-scale research issues. Each seminar takes place on Wednesdays from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm PT. Have a suggestion for a great speaker? Please use this form to suggest potential speakers for our series.

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