Our ‘Motor Signature’ Is a Window Into Mental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Piotr Słowiński</strong> Department of Mathematics College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Research Fellow University of Exeter

Dr. Piotr Słowiński

Dr. Piotr Słowiński
Department of Mathematics
College of Engineering
Mathematics and Physical Sciences,
Research Fellow
University of Exeter

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In an earlier study, we have found that every person has an individual style of moving (its own individual motor signature) and that people who have similar motor signatures are better in coordinating with each other (http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/13/116/20151093). In the current study, we show that both these characteristics, own motor signature, and quality of interaction with others, have potential to give and insight into person’s mental health condition.

Assessment of motor symptoms is already a part of a clinical interview during a neurological evaluation by an expert psychiatrist. Our method, if confirmed in clinical trials, would speed up such examination and would allow for better allocation of the valuable time of medical professionals (for example, for more advanced tests in cases of diagnostic uncertainty). Additionally, it could allow for monitoring and personalization of treatment.

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Walking After Meals May Lower Blood Sugar

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Reynolds Department of Human NutritionUniversity Otago Dunedin New Zealand

Andrew Reynolds

Andrew Reynolds
Department of Human NutritionUniversity
Otago 
Dunedin New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Current guidelines for people with type 2 diabetes are to undertake activities such as walking for at least 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day. When to walk in the day is not specified. We thought it reasonable that walking after meals would improve blood sugars more so than a walk where the timing was unspecified.

Our randomised controlled trial considered exactly this, a prescription to walk as per the guideline of 30 minutes a day and a prescription to walk for 10 minutes after each meal. Our participants were free-living, but wore accelerometers to record their movement, and continuous glucose monitoring systems to observe their blood glucose levels. We found that post-meal blood sugar levels dropped 12 per cent on average when the participants followed the walking after meals advice compared to walking at any time of the day. Most of this effect came from the highly significant 22 per cent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy, and were followed by the most sedentary time.

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Some Personality Traits Revealed In How You Walk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mr Liam Satchell Research Associate Department of Psychology University of Portsmouth, UK

Mr. Liam Satchell

Mr Liam Satchell
Research Associate
Department of Psychology
University of Portsmouth, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most people in general are really interested in trying to understand “body language”, how a person behaves may give clues to their psychology. However, psychology has rarely engaged in an empirical investigation of what information about personality may be available in largely automatic movements, such as walking. We brought together techniques from psychology research and sports and exercise science to investigate what features of personality may be available in gait.

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Walking Groups Demonstrate Wide Ranging Health Benefits

Sarah Hanson Norwich Medical School University of East AngliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sarah Hanson

Norwich Medical School
University of East Anglia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Physical inactivity is a global problem. Walking is an easy way to increase physical activity. One way to increase physical activity may be through the use of outdoor walking groups. Walking groups are increasingly popular but until now we have not known if there are wider health benefits from walking groups, apart from increasing physical activity.

Medical Research: What was the study method?

Response: A systematic review and meta-analysis of outdoor walking group interventions found 42 studies which met the eligibility criteria. These studies involved 1,843 participants in 14 countries doing approximately 74,000 hours of walking.

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Walking Program Insufficient To Reduce Risk of Falls in Elderly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Voukelatos BSc, BA, MA(psych), PhD

Healthy Populations Program Manager
Health Promotion
Sydney Local Health District and Conjoint Lecturer
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of NSW

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response:Falls in older people has been a significant public health issue in high income countries for several decades now. We know that if current trends continue, given that more people will be living for longer, falls will be an even bigger issue in the not too distant. Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing, and in fact many falls can be prevented relatively simply by increasing physical activity.

For over 15 years we’ve known that physical activity is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of falls in older people living in the community; since the publication of the first Cochrane review on Interventions for preventing falls in the elderly by Gillespie and colleagues. [1]  I know that Health Departments here, in Australia, and in New Zealand – as I suspect has been the case in many high income countries – have invested a lot of resources over the past few decades into reducing falls-related hospital admissions in older people. Much of this going into promoting and funding physical activity programs for older people.

However, this investment has had very little if any impact on falls-related hospital admissions in older people. There may be several reasons we haven’t seen any difference in these rates. In New South Wales – Australia’s most populous state –  we know that physical activity rates amongst older people have actually risen by about 15% between 1998 and 2005,[2] the most popular activity by far being walking,[3] yet we haven’t see any corresponding change in falls-related hospitalization rates. Perhaps there has not been enough time for these programs to have made an impact on hospitalization rates, or perhaps the change in physical activity levels is insufficient to make an impact on these rates.

Another possibility could be that while we’ve seen an increase in physical activity in older people perhaps its not the kind of physical activity that results in a reduction in falls. Sherrington and colleagues [4] reviewed effective physical activity interventions for preventing falls in older people and found they had several elements in common: a) the physical activity included balance challenging exercise i.e. exercises taking participants to the limits of their stability, b) at least 50 hours of accumulated activity was needed, and c) no walking was included in the exercises. So we know not all types of physical activity will be equally effective in reducing the risk of falling. There is some disagreement in the literature about walking.

There are several studies that included walking as part of the intervention and showed a reduction in falls in older people. Other studies supported the conclusions made by Sherrington that walking is not associated with a reduction in falls. All of these studies included walking as a component of an intervention which makes it difficult to figure out what effect walking specifically has on falls rates.

This is were our study comes in. We wanted to investigate the effectiveness of a walking program on falls in older people, specifically sedentary older people, who we presumed would get the most benefit from becoming more physically active.

We developed a walking program specifically for sedentary older people, that they could do themselves in their own time, at their preferred locale. The aim of the program was to get participants walking for at least 150 minutes per week at a brisk pace. The program comprised of four parts: the first part focused on increasing the frequency of walks, the second part focused on getting participants to walk for at least 150 minutes per week, followed by walking for 150 minutes at a brisk pace, while the final part focused on supporting participants in maintaining their walking levels and incorporating walking as part of their daily activities.

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Take a Short Walk: Don’t Sit For Long Periods of Time

Saurabh S. Thosar, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon Health & Science UniversiMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Saurabh S. Thosar, Ph.D.,
Postdoctoral Researcher
Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences,
Oregon Health & Science University


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Thosar: We discovered that 3 hours of sitting leads to an impairment in shear rate and an impairment in femoral artery endothelial function. When systematic breaks are added in the sitting time the shear rate and the endothelial function are preserved.
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Multiple Sclerosis: Slower Walking Speed Associated With Decreased Quality of Life

Jeffrey Cohen MD Department of Neurology Cleveland ClinicMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffrey Cohen MD
Department of Neurology
Cleveland Clinic

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cohen: This study assessed the relationship between walking speed, as measured by the Timed 25-foot Walk test, and patient-reported quality of life, as measured by the Physical Component Summary score of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), in a pooled dataset from the AFFIRM, SENTINEL, and IMPACT multiple sclerosis Phase 3 trials.  It showed that slowed walking speed is associated with decreased quality of life.  It also showed that 20-25% slowing of walking speed is a clinically meaningful change.
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Elders Who Walk Out Of Necessity Rather Than Recreation Suffer More Falls

Dr. Wenjun Li , PhD Health Statistics and Geography Lab Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.MedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Dr. Wenjun Li , PhD
Health Statistics and Geography Lab
Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Wenjun Li: Compared to those walking for recreational purposes only, older adults walking for utilitarian purposes had higher risk for outdoor falls and fall-related injuries that require medical attention. Continue reading

Effect of Aerobic Exercise (Walking) Training on Functional Status and Health-related Quality of Life in Chronic Stroke Survivors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Carron D. Gordon, PhD

Section of Physical Therapy, University of the West Indies,
Mona, Box 126, Kingston 7, Jamaica, West Indies

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Gordon: The walking group showed a 17.6% improvement in distance walked in six minutes (measure of endurance) compared to 4% in the control group and 16.7% improvement in SF36-Physical Component (health-related quality of life) compared to 2.6% in the control group.
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