Gait performance and use of mental imagery as a measure of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Ruxandra Iancu Ferfoglia, Anne Chantal Heritier Barras, Pierre Pollak, Jean Paul Janssens, Pierre Francois Pradat, Gilles Allali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Gait and balance are key determinants of disease status in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This study aims at testing the relationship between the imagery of gait and disability in patients with ALS. Methods: Twenty-five consecutive patients (63.8 ± 2.4 years; 52% female) performed the timed up and go (TUG) test and a validated imagined version of the TUG between March 2011 and May 2012. The revised ALS functional rating score (ALSFRS-R) was assessed simultaneously. Results: The mean duration of TUG (16.7 ± 2.2 s) was significantly longer than imagined TUG (iTUG; 10.5 ± 1.4 s, p < 0.001). The TUG (R2 = 0.40, p = 0.001) and the iTUG (R2 = 0.30, p = 0.007) were significantly associated with results of the ALSFRS-R score (37.0 ± 7.3) as well as with muscle strength in arms (TUG R2 = 0.42, p < 0.001, iTUG R2 = 0.38, p = 0.001) and legs (TUG R2 = 0.47, p < 0.001, iTUG R2 = 0.46, p < 0.001). TUG and iTUG increased with age (TUG R2 = 0.18, p = 0.04, iTUG R2 = 0.12, p = 0.05). Conclusion: ALS patients performed the imagined gait faster than the real gait. Both TUG and iTUG correlated with disability measured by the ALSFRS-R score and by muscle strength. These inexpensive and easy clinical tests represent promising tools in clinical practice to study gait in ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-112
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Apr 2016


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Gait
  • Mental imagery of gait
  • Timed up and go test


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