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  • Publication
    Systematic exploration of guide-tree topology effects for small protein alignments
    Background: Guide-trees are used as part of an essential heuristic to enable the calculation of multiple sequence alignments. They have been the focus of much method development but there has been little effort at determining systematically, which guide-trees, if any, give the best alignments. Some guide-tree construction schemes are based on pair-wise distances amongst unaligned sequences. Others try to emulate an underlying evolutionary tree and involve various iteration methods. Results: We explore all possible guide-trees for a set of protein alignments of up to eight sequences. We find that pairwise distance based default guide-trees sometimes outperform evolutionary guide-trees, as measured by structure derived reference alignments. However, default guide-trees fall way short of the optimum attainable scores. On average chained guide-trees perform better than balanced ones but are not better than default guide-trees for small alignments. Conclusions: Alignment methods that use Consistency or hidden Markov models to make alignments are less susceptible to sub-optimal guide-trees than simpler methods, that basically use conventional sequence alignment between profiles. The latter appear to be affected positively by evolutionary based guide-trees for difficult alignments and negatively for easy alignments. One phylogeny aware alignment program can strongly discriminate between good and bad guide-trees. The results for randomly chained guide-trees improve with the number of sequences.
    Scopus© Citations 10  424
  • Publication
    Quantitative clinical assessment of motor function during and following LSVT-BIG® therapy
    Background LSVT-BIG® is an intensively delivered, amplitude-oriented exercise therapy reported to improve mobility in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, questions remain surrounding the efficacy of LSVT-BIG® when compared with similar exercise therapies. Instrumented clinical tests using body-worn sensors can provide a means to objectively monitor patient progression with therapy by quantifying features of motor function, yet research exploring the feasibility of this approach has been limited to date. The aim of this study was to use accelerometer-instrumented clinical tests to quantify features of gait, balance and fine motor control in individuals with PD, in order to examine motor function during and following LSVT-BIG® therapy. Methods Twelve individuals with PD undergoing LSVT-BIG® therapy, eight non-exercising PD controls and 14 healthy controls were recruited to participate in the study. Functional mobility was examined using features derived from accelerometry recorded during five instrumented clinical tests: 10 m walk, Timed-Up-and-Go, Sit-to-Stand, quiet stance, and finger tapping. PD subjects undergoing therapy were assessed before, each week during, and up to 13 weeks following LSVT-BIG®. Results Accelerometry data captured significant improvements in 10 m walk and Timed-Up-and-Go times with LSVT-BIG® (p <  0.001), accompanied by increased stride length. Temporal features of the gait cycle were significantly lower following therapy, though no change was observed with measures of asymmetry or stride variance. The total number of Sit-to-Stand transitions significantly increased with LSVT-BIG® (p <  0.001), corresponding to a significant reduction of time spent in each phase of the Sit-to-Stand cycle. No change in measures related to postural or fine motor control was observed with LSVT-BIG®. PD subjects undergoing LSVT-BIG® showed significant improvements in 10 m walk (p <  0.001) and Timed-Up-and-Go times (p = 0.004) over a four-week period when compared to non-exercising PD controls, who showed no week-to-week improvement in any task examined. Conclusions This study demonstrates the potential for wearable sensors to objectively quantify changes in motor function in response to therapeutic exercise interventions in PD. The observed improvements in accelerometer-derived features provide support for instrumenting gait and sit-to-stand tasks, and demonstrate a rescaling of the speed-amplitude relationship during gait in PD following LSVT-BIG®.
      24Scopus© Citations 12