Meta-Analysis Reveals Gait Anomalies in Autism.

TitleMeta-Analysis Reveals Gait Anomalies in Autism.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLum JAG, Shandley K, Albein-Urios N, Kirkovski M, Papadopoulos N, Wilson RB, Enticott PG, Rinehart NJ
JournalAutism Res
Date Published2020 Dec 01

Gait abnormalities are frequently reported in autism. The empirical literature, however, is characterized by inconsistent findings concerning which aspects of gait are affected. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize study findings that examined temporal and spatial (i.e., two-dimensional) gait parameters in pediatric and adult samples comprising individuals with autism and healthy controls. After searching electronic databases, a total of 18 studies were identified and included in this review. Results from the meta-analyses revealed autism is associated with a wider step width, slower walking speed, longer gait cycle, longer stance time and longer step time. Additionally, autism appears to be associated with greater intra-individual variability on measures of stride length, stride time and walking speed. Meta-regression analyses revealed cadence and gait cycle duration differences, between autism and control groups, become more pronounced with age. Overall, this review demonstrates that autism is associated with gait abnormalities. However, assessment of the methodological quality of the studies reveal, additional research is required to understand the extent that gait abnormalities are specifically linked to autism, or whether they may be secondary to other factors commonly found in this group, such as increased weight. LAY SUMMARY: It is often noted by clinicians that individuals with autism have an awkward or unusual walking style, which is also referred to as gait. In this report, we reviewed past studies that compared gait in individuals with and without autism. Our review indicates autism is associated with an abnormal gait. However, it is not yet clear whether gait abnormalities are caused by autism, or arise due to other factors such as heavier weight, which often co-occurs in this group.

Alternate JournalAutism Res
PubMed ID33289353