Wearable sensors can reliably quantify gait alterations associated with disability in people with progressive multiple sclerosis in a clinical setting.

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Gait disability in people with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is difficult to quantify using existing clinical tools. This study aims to identify reliable and objective gait-based biomarkers to monitor progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) in clinical settings. During routine clinical visits, 57 people with secondary progressive MS and 24 healthy controls walked for 6 minutes wearing three inertial motion sensors. Fifteen gait measures were computed from the sensor data and tested for between-session reliability, for differences between controls and people with moderate and severe MS disability, and for correlation with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores. The majority of gait measures showed good to excellent between-session reliability when assessed in a subgroup of 23 healthy controls and 25 people with MS. These measures showed that people with MS walked with significantly longer step and stride durations, reduced step and stride regularity, and experienced difficulties in controlling and maintaining a stable walk when compared to controls. These abnormalities significantly increased in people with a higher level of disability and correlated with their EDSS scores. Reliable and objective gait-based biomarkers using wearable sensors have been identified. These biomarkers may allow clinicians to quantify clinically relevant alterations in gait in people with progressive MS within the context of regular clinical visits.

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