Document Type


Publication Date



In order to address whether increased levels of movement output variability indicate pathological performance, we systematically reviewed and synthesized meta-analysis data on healthy and pathological motor behavior. After screening up to 24’000 reports from four databases, 85 studies were included containing 2409 patients and 2523 healthy asymptomatic controls. The optimal thresholds of variability with uncertainty boundaries (in % Coefficient of Variation ± Standard Error) were estimated in 7 parameters: stride time (2.34 ± 0.21), stride length (2.99 ± 0.37), step length (3.34 ± 0.84), swing time (2.94 ± 0.60), step time (3.35 ± 0.23), step width (15.87 ± 1.86), and dual-limb support time (6.08 ± 2.83). All spatio-temporal parameters exhibited a positive effect size (pathology led to increased variability) except step width variability (Effect Size = −0.21). By objectively benchmarking thresholds for pathological motor variability also presented through a case-study, this review provides access to movement signatures to understand neurological changes in an individual that are apparent in movement variability. The comprehensive evidence presented now qualifies stride time variability as a movement biomarker, endorsing its applicability as a viable outcome measure in clinical trials.


This article was originally published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, volume 108, in 2019.

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.