The “butterfly diagram”: A gait marker for neurological and cerebellar impairment in people with multiple sclerosis

People with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) frequently experience walking and balance impairments. In our previous report, we demonstrated that spatio-temporal gait parameters, collected by the Zebris FDM-T instrumented treadmill (Zebris Medical GmbH, Germany), serve as valid markers of neurological impairment in the MS population. In the current study, we focused on a unique outcome statistic of the instrumented treadmill, the “butterfly” diagram which reflects the variability of the center of pressure trajectory during walking. Therefore, the aim of the study was to examine the relationship between parameters related to the gait butterfly diagram and the level of neurological impairment in PwMS. Specifically we examined whether the gait butterfly parameters can differentiate between MS patients with normal cerebellar function and those suffering from ataxia. Demographic, neurological and gait parameters were collected from 341 PwMS, 213 women, aged 42.3 (S.D. = 13.8). MS participants with ataxia demonstrated higher scores relating to the butterfly gait variability parameters compared to PwMS with normal or slightly abnormal cerebellar function. According to the results of the binary regression analysis, gait variability in the ant-post direction was found to explain 18.1% of the variance related to cerebellar function; R2 = 0.181, χ2(1) = 67.852, P < 0.001. Measurements derived from the butterfly diagram are proper estimators for important neurological functions in PwMS and should be considered in order to improve diagnosis and assessment of the MS population.

via Journal of the Neurological Sciences

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