Gait is a basic cognitive purposeful action that has been shown to be altered in late stages of neurodegenerative dementias. Nevertheless, alterations are less clear in mild forms of dementia, and the potential use of gait analysis as a biomarker of initial cognitive decline has hitherto mostly been neglected. Herein, we report the results of a study of gait kinematic time series for two groups of patients (mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease) and a group of matched control subjects. Two metrics based on permutation patterns are considered, respectively measuring the complexity and irreversibility of the time series. Results indicate that kinematic disorganisation is present in early phases of cognitive impairment; in addition, they depict a rich scenario, in which some joint movements display an increased complexity and irreversibility, while others a marked decrease. Beyond their potential use as biomarkers, complexity and irreversibility metrics can open a new door to the understanding of the role of the nervous system in gait, as well as its adaptation and compensatory mechanisms.
Published: 6 September 2019
Journal: Entropy, volume 21, issue 9, pages 868