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University in the UK studying the biometrics of walking


The way you walk can make a mark.

A study conducted by Dr. Rajshree Mootanah measures just that. It measures the gait of individuals. It can help assess patients’ joint functions especially those who have just undergone hip or knee surgery, along with burn victims. Further, recent studies show that an individual’s walking pattern can determine whether he or she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive disorders.

Dr. Mootanah is the Director of the Medical Engineering Research Group at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. He has been calling on volunteers in Essex, aged 18 and above, to participate in the study in order to create a database of localized gait or “normal walking style”.

The gait analysis laboratory at Anglia Ruskin University is building upon the work being conducted at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, a leading hospital for orthopedics in the U.S. The database will use the normal gaits captured in New York, but in order to be geographically accurate, the databasw will need to test and analysis local patients, in order to establish a profile for the “Essex walk”.

“We are hoping that the people of Essex will volunteer their time – and their walking style – to the project,” said Dr. Mootanah. “When we are working with patients it is important to have a reference database of ‘normal’ gait to compare them to. The only database we have is of the New York population and we believe there may be slight but still significant differences to the way our local population walks due to the different racial make-up of the two groups. Although people will have small markers attached to the ‘bony’ parts of their body, such as their pelvis, feet, and shoulders, taking part in the study will be totally painless and the biomechanics data gathered will be of great value to our future work.”

Volunteers in Dr. Mootanah’s study will be asked to step on special pressure plates to measure the force of their steps. How they walk will be recorded by 3-D motion capture.

Do you live Essex and are interested in volunteering? If you are, please e-mail Dr. Mootanah at rajshree.mootanah@anglia.ac.uk or call 0845 196 3909.

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