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good practice: average gait trials?

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  • good practice: average gait trials?

    Dear all,

    Could you maybe share your thoughts on the pro's and con's of
    averaging gait trials?

    I am collecting spatio-temporal parameters of several gait tasks in
    Parkinson's disease patients (straight line walking, turning).
    The test-protocol was designed to comprise different (2 or 3 trials)
    from each gait task in a randomized order.

    The randomization was applied to exclude learning effects or changes
    due to fatigue.
    For statistical analysis, an average was calculated of all trials
    within one gait task.

    In my opinion averaging gait trials minimizes the variation that
    exists between trials and increases reliability.
    That is, as long as there are no systematical difference, e.g. learning effect.

    On the other hand, the gait parameters can vary between trial 1 and
    trial 2, and such an averaging procedure may discard important information.

    Are there any agreements on 'good practice' on this issue?

    I would really appreciate all replies.

    Anne-Marie Willems