Despite early neurological reports of gait abnormalities in Williams syndrome (WS), a rare genetically based neurodevelopmental disorder, there has not yet been any systematic investigation of gait dysfunction in this disorder. The current study examined the gait characteristics in adults with WS and a neurologically normal control group as they walked at self-selected slow, preferred and fast speeds using the GAITRite walkway. The WS group showed hypokinetic gait, which manifested as reduced gait speed and stride length, but with a disproportionate increase in cadence (stepping frequency) as speed was increased. The WS group also showed increased variability of stride length and a broad based stepping pattern implicating a compensatory strategy for postural instability. Performance IQ correlated significantly with stride length in the WS group. While these results should be considered preliminary due to the small sample size, these findings have implications for our understanding of the neural basis of gait dysfunction in WS.
- Basal ganglia
- Williams syndrome