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Pet owners may have been able to tell their pets that their pets are anxious more than once by observing their movements. It has long been known that people can react to fear in the same way. The latest research by Clarkson University students shows that anxiety can be diagnosed by observing the walking of anxious people.
The gait and anxiety states
The team led by Dr. Maggie Stark recently published in the journal Sensors their promising advances in research into the relationship between the way people move and their anxiety states. The participants in this study were initially asked to take a standard mood test that helped determine their anxiety level. Then these people, with nine motion sensors on, walked for 2 minutes on a route with hard and spongy ground. In the meantime, a test was also done to measure the balance of the subjects.
The sensors provided a lot of valuable information about the movements of the study participants. As it turned out, gait characteristics were most useful in diagnosing anxiety. These primarily include the angles at which the subjects turned, as well as: increased frequency of sideways movements of the neck and decreased up and down, compared with people who felt confident.
Although most of the study participants were young and relatively physically healthy, their movements resembled those of the elderlywho are afraid of falling while walking. This led to difficulty turning and constantly observing the environment for fear of danger†
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Valuable research results
According to the researchers test results can help to facilitate diagnosis and combat the stigmatization of people with mental disorders. Such people are often afraid to seek appropriate treatment for fear of campaigning by society. Easy reading of states tensionand thus a rapid diagnosis, could be a breakthrough for many patients.
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