Rethinking gait and motor activity in daily life: a neuroergonomic perspective of Parkinson’s disease

By Ross Parry, O. Buttelli, J. Riff, J. Roussel, N. Sellam, M. L. Welter, Elodie Lalo

This article proposes a neuroergonomic perspective for the characterisation of locomotor abilities in daily life situations for people with neurological disorders. It describes a novel and ecological methodological framework whereby human gait is considered as a complex and situated activity. The specific interest of this approach is considered here using the case of a 54-year-old woman with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Following this patient though the course of her daily life activity, an integrated data collection process was used. This combined first person interviewing techniques, ethnographic observations and onboard measures of physiological and biomechanical correlates (electromyography, accelerometry...). Based upon these findings, locomotor activity is characterised here in terms of 1) significant phases of the person’s bodily experience through the course of a medication cycle; 2) the different gait patterns which were seen to emerge through the coupling between the person and their environment and; 3) the punctual gait disturbances which were seen to occur in a complex situation. The results obtained using this neuroergonomic perspective are discussed with respect to the coherence and the complementarity of the different data sources; the significance of these results in the emerging field of personalised medicine, and; the potential clinical applications of such ecological methods.


  • human gait
  • neuroergonomics
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • ecological method
  • personalised medicine
  • neurological disorders
  • integrated approach
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