Assessment of upper body accelerations in young adults with intellectual disabilities while walking, running, and dual-task running

Marco Iosa, Daniela Morelli, Enrica Nisi, Carlo Sorbara, Stefano Negrini, Paola Gentili, Stefano Paolucci, Augusto Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is an increasing interest about upper body accelerations during locomotion and how they are altered by physical impairments. Recent studies have demonstrated that cognitive impairments affect gait stability in the elderly (i.e., their capacity for smoothing upper body accelerations during walking) but little attention has been paid to young adults with intellectual disabilities. The purpose of this study was to examine upright stability in young adults with intellectual disabilities during walking, running, and dual-task running (playing soccer). To this aim a wearable trunk-mounted device that permits on-field assessment was used to quantify trunk acceleration of 18 male teenagers with intellectual disabilities (IDG) and 7 mental-age-matched healthy children (HCG) who participated in the same soccer program. We did not find any significant difference during walking in terms of speed, whereas speed differences were found during running (p=.001). Upper body accelerations were altered in a pathology-specific manner during the dual task: the performance of subjects with autistic disorders was compromised while running and controlling the ball with the feet. Differences in upright locomotor patterns between IDG and HCG emerged during more demanding motor tasks in terms of a loss in the capacity of smoothing accelerations at the trunk level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Accelerometry
  • Autism disorders
  • Biomechanics
  • Down syndrome
  • Kinematic analysis
  • Pervasive developmental disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

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