Andréia Aires looked at gait abnormality in the elderly
Master’s degree student of School of Technology’s Graduate Program in Electrical Engineering and former School of Health Sciences student, Andréia Aires, participated in the 8th World Congress of Biomechanics, in Dublin (Ireland). She presented the paper Effects of stair negotiation on subsequent gait performance in older adults, which looks at the effects of gait abnormality in the elderly and how they get mentally and physically prepared to use stairs.
This phenomenon may happen either before or after physical activities and can change the motor control of individuals. This may eventually lead to fatigue and transient loss of balance. “Because of that, assessing whether gait is subject to changes after going up or down stairs is important as aging population is a reality in our country”, says Andréia. She has been advised by Professor Dr Rafael Baptista both in the writing of the paper and in the conduction of her Master’s, in the area of Biomedical Engineering.
In her view, taking part in an international congress results in an unprecedented exchange of information between people from different parts of the world as they share different world views on the same subject. This helps us understand different areas. “It is incredible to be in event filled with people who share the same interests as you. Being there to exchange knowledge, even with professors who were there for you in your undergraduate life and who are now presenting something or watching, is amazing, too. Not to mention that visiting a different country and having the chance to experience a different culture makes me feel more prepared for life”, says she. The feedback of the congress’ participants helped consolidate the study’s general idea and reaffirmed its importance to sport. “People have very different visions, ideas and opinions that we might imagine”, complements she.
This project is somehow connected to the research she is working on in support of her Master’s, as she develops a method of analysis and classification of gait in the elderly using an algorithm capable of calculating the gait’s classification index. She uses Soil Reaction Force Signals. “As I am working on my Master’s in Electrical Engineering, I focused on the development of a quantitative method of analysis. I will make use of engineering and its tools to make the interpretation of data easier as it is mostly done in a qualitative way. This will make the investigation into the bait more faithful to the results as it will reduce the subjectivity in the assessment of data collected”, comments she.
Andréia is always attentive to opportunities such as this one, and she is encouraged by her advisor. In 2017, as an undergraduate student, she joined the event sponsored by the European College of Sports Science (ECSS), in Germany. In that event, she presented the paper developed in the FISIOMEC Research Group, involving other professors and students.