ISSN: 1899-1955
Human Movement
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4/2017
vol. 18
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Gait adaptations after vestibular stimulation in children with congenital visual impairments: a comparative study

Panagiotis Tsaklis
1, 2
,
Savvas Alexandros Zorzos
1
,
Dimitra Mertyri
1

1.
Laboratory of Biomechanics and Ergonomics, Department of Physiotherapy, Alexander Technological Educational Institute, Thessaloniki, Greece
2.
Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Online publish date: 2018/02/26
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Purpose
The study is based on the hypothesis that individuals with congenital total or partial loss of vision develop more effective gait adjustments compared with those who are sighted, after stimulation of the vestibular system. Therefore, they are able to manage their motor control better. The aim was to investigate the way individuals with congenital total or partial vision loss adjust their gait following vestibular stimulation, compared with sighted blindfolded individuals.

Methods
The total of 10 children with congenital visual impairments constituted the experimental group and 10 children with normal vision (blindfolded with special mask) formed the control group. We performed gait analysis (forward and backward gait direction) with a three-dimensional gait analysis system. The walking speed (m/s) of each group, before and after the vestibular stimulation, during forward and backward gait, was analysed.

Results
The average walking speed of the children in the experimental group, statistically, revealed no significant differences before and after the vestibular stimulation. Conversely, in the control group, statistically significant differences in the mean walking speed before and after the vestibular system stimulation were found.

Conclusions
Children with congenital total or partial blindness may adapt their gait strategy more adequately, after vestibular stimulation, during forward and backward gait, as compared with sighted blindfolded children. Consequently, the first group is in the position to manage their motor control more sufficiently.

keywords:

children, vestibular system, gait, stimulation, blindness, motor control

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