Brain Connectivity Analysis in Distinct Footwear Conditions during Infinity Walk Using fNIRS
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSensors. 2023, 23 (9), . 10.3390/s23094422
Gait and balance are an intricate interplay between the brain, nervous system, sensory organs, and musculoskeletal system. They are greatly influenced by the type of footwear, walking patterns, and surface. This exploratory study examines the effects of the Infinity Walk, pronation, and footwear conditions on brain effective connectivity patterns. A continuous-wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy device collected data from five healthy participants. A highly computationally efficient connectivity model based on the Grange causal relationship between the channels was applied to data to find the effective relationship between inter- and intra-hemispheric brain connectivity. Brain regions of interest (ROI) were less connected during the barefoot condition than during other complex walks. Conversely, the highest interconnectedness between ROI was observed while wearing flat insoles and medially wedged sandals, which is a relatively difficult type of footwear to walk in. No statistically significant (p-value < 0.05) effect on connectivity patterns was observed during the corrected pronated posture. The regions designated as motoric, sensorimotor, and temporal became increasingly connected with difficult walking patterns and footwear conditions. The Infinity Walk causes effective bidirectional connections between ROI across all conditions and both hemispheres. Due to its repetitive pattern, the Infinity Walk is a good test method, particularly for neuro-rehabilitation and motoric learning experiments.