Movement markers of schizophrenia: a detailed analysis of patients’ gait patterns

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience(2022)

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Motor abnormalities occur in the majority of persons with schizophrenia but are generally neglected in clinical care. Psychiatric diagnostics fail to include quantifiable motor variables and few assessment tools examine full-body movement. We assessed full-body movement during gait of 20 patients and 20 controls with motion capture technology, symptom load (PANSS, BPRS) and Neurological Soft Signs (NSS). In a data-driven analysis, participants’ motion patterns were quantified and compared between groups. Resulting movement markers (MM) were correlated with the clinical assessment. We identified 16 quantifiable MM of schizophrenia. While walking, patients and controls display significant differences in movement patterns related to posture, velocity, regularity of gait as well as sway, flexibility and integration of body parts. Specifically, the adjustment of body sides, limbs and movement direction were affected. The MM remain significant when controlling for medication load. They are systematically related to NSS. Results add assessment tools, analysis methods as well as theory-independent MM to the growing body of research on motor abnormalities in schizophrenia.
Motion capture, Motor abnormalities, Movement, Controlled trial, Embodiment
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