The use of rhythmic acoustic stimulation (RAS) in improving gait and balance in healthy elderly subjects has been widely investigated. However, methodologies and results are often controversial. In this study, we hypothesize that both the kinematic features of gait and stability, depend on the frequency at which RAS is administered. Our aim was to observe, through 3D Gait Analysis, the effect of different types of RAS (at a fixed frequency or based on the average cadence of each subject) on both gait spatio-temporal parameters and stability. The latter was estimated through an innovative measure, the trunk displacement index (TDI) that we have recently implemented. We observed that the low frequencies RAS led to a general slowdown of gait, which did not provide any clear benefit and produced harmful effects on stability when the frequency became too low compared to the individual natural frequency. On the contrary, the high frequencies of RAS showed a slight acceleration of gait, accompanied by better stability (as documented by a lower TDI value), regardless of the type of RAS. Finally, the RAS equal to the individual natural cadence also produced an increase in stability.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience