Postural control during quiet bipedal standing in rats.
ABSTRACT: The control of bipedal posture in humans is subject to non-ideal conditions such as delayed sensation and heartbeat noise. However, the controller achieves a high level of functionality by utilizing body dynamics dexterously. In order to elucidate the neural mechanism responsible for postural control, the present study made use of an experimental setup involving rats because they have more accessible neural structures. The experimental design requires rats to stand bipedally in order to obtain a water reward placed in a water supplier above them. Their motions can be measured in detail using a motion capture system and a force plate. Rats have the ability to stand bipedally for long durations (over 200 s), allowing for the construction of an experimental environment in which the steady standing motion of rats could be measured. The characteristics of the measured motion were evaluated based on aspects of the rats' intersegmental coordination and power spectrum density (PSD). These characteristics were compared with those of the human bipedal posture. The intersegmental coordination of the standing rats included two components that were similar to that of standing humans: center of mass and trunk motion. The rats' PSD showed a peak at approximately 1.8 Hz and the pattern of the PSD under the peak frequency was similar to that of the human PSD. However, the frequencies were five times higher in rats than in humans. Based on the analysis of the rats' bipedal standing motion, there were some common characteristics between rat and human standing motions. Thus, using standing rats is expected to be a powerful tool to reveal the neural basis of postural control.
Project description:Motion sickness (MS) usually occurs for a narrow band of frequencies of the imposed oscillation. It happens that this frequency band is close to that which are spontaneously produced by postural sway during natural stance. This study examined the relationship between reported susceptibility to motion sickness and postural control. The hypothesis is that the level of MS can be inferred from the shape of the Power Spectral Density (PSD) profile of spontaneous sway, as measured by the displacement of the center of mass during stationary, upright stance. In Experiment 1, postural fluctuations while standing quietly were related to MS history for inertial motion. In Experiment 2, postural stability measures registered before the onset of a visual roll movement were related to MS symptoms following the visual stimulation. Study of spectral characteristics in postural control showed differences in the distribution of energy along the power spectrum of the antero-posterior sway signal. Participants with MS history provoked by exposure to inertial motion showed a stronger contribution of the high frequency components of the sway signal. When MS was visually triggered, sick participants showed more postural sway in the low frequency range. The results suggest that subject-specific PSD details may be a predictor of the MS level. Furthermore, the analysis of the sway frequency spectrum provided insight into the intersubject differences in the use of postural control subsystems. The relationship observed between MS susceptibility and spontaneous posture is discussed in terms of postural sensory weighting and in relation to the nature of the provocative stimulus.
Project description:We investigated postural responses (head displacements) and self-motion perception (vection) to radial and lateral optic flows while sitting and standing by using a head-mounted display. We found that head displacement directions varied across postures. In the standing posture, radial optic flow generally produced the opposed head displacement against the perceived vection direction, consistent with the literature; however, in the sitting posture, the optic flow generally produced the following head displacement in the vection direction. In the standing posture, responses were evident soon after the onset of the optic flow presentation but became less clear in the latter half of a trial. The results, while less clear for lateral flows, were similar for both flow types. Our findings suggest partially distinct processes underlying vection and postural control.
Project description:The transition from occasional to obligate bipedalism is a milestone in human evolution. However, because the fossil record is fragmentary and reconstructing behaviour from fossils is difficult, changes in the motor control strategies that accompanied this transition remain unknown. Quadrupedal primates that adopt a bipedal stance while using percussive tools provide a unique reference point to clarify one aspect of this transition, which is maintaining bipedal stance while handling massive objects. We found that while cracking nuts using massive stone hammers, wild bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) produce hammer trajectories with highly repeatable spatial profiles. Using an uncontrolled manifold analysis, we show that the monkeys used strong joint synergies to stabilize the hammer trajectory while lifting and lowering heavy hammers. The monkeys stringently controlled the motion of the foot. They controlled the motion of the lower arm and hand rather loosely, showing a greater variability across strikes. Overall, our findings indicate that while standing bipedally to lift and lower massive hammers, an arboreal quadrupedal primate must control motion in the joints of the lower body more stringently than motion in the joints of the upper body. Similar changes in the structure of motor variability required to accomplish this goal could have accompanied the evolutionary transition from occasional to obligate bipedalism in ancestral hominins.
Project description:The unilateral predominance of Parkinson's disease (PD) symptoms suggests that balance control could be asymmetrical during static tasks. Although studies have shown that balance control asymmetries exist in patients with PD, these analyses were performed using only simple bipedal standing tasks. Challenging postural tasks, such as unipedal or tandem standing, could exacerbate balance control asymmetries. To address this, we studied the impact of challenging standing tasks on postural control asymmetry in patients with PD. Twenty patients with PD and twenty neurologically healthy individuals (control group) participated in this study. Participants performed three 30s trials for each postural task: bipedal, tandem adapted and unipedal standing. The center of pressure parameter was calculated for both limbs in each of these conditions, and the asymmetry between limbs was assessed using the symmetric index. A significant effect of condition was observed, with unipedal standing and tandem standing showing greater asymmetry than bipedal standing for the mediolateral root mean square (RMS) and area of sway parameters, respectively. In addition, a group*condition interaction indicated that, only for patients with PD, the unipedal condition showed greater asymmetry in the mediolateral RMS and area of sway than the bipedal condition and the tandem condition showed greater asymmetry in the area of sway than the bipedal condition. Patients with PD exhibited greater asymmetry while performing tasks requiring postural control when compared to neurologically healthy individuals, especially for challenging tasks such as tandem and unipedal standing.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Lordosis is the bending of the lumbar spine that gives the vertebral column of humans its characteristic ventrally convex curvature. Infants develop lordosis around the time when they acquire bipedal locomotion. Even macaques develop a lordosis when they are trained to walk bipedally. The aim of this study was to investigate why humans and some animals develop a lumbar lordosis while learning to walk bipedally. RESULTS: We developed a musculoskeletal model of the lumbar spine, that includes an asymmetric, dorsally shifted location of the spinal column in the body, realistic moment arms, and physiological cross-sectional areas (PCSA) of the muscles as well as realistic force-length and force-velocity relationships. The model was used to analyze the stability of an upright body posture. According to our results, lordosis reduces the local joint torques necessary for an equilibrium of the vertebral column during an erect posture. At the same time lordosis increases the demands on the global muscles to provide stability. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the development of a spinal lordosis is a compromise between the stability requirements of an erect posture and the necessity of torque equilibria at each spinal segment.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most common hereditary neuromuscular disorder. CMT1 is primarily demyelinating, CMT2 is primarily axonal, and CMTX1 is characterized by both axonal and demyelinating abnormalities. We investigated the role of somatosensory and muscular deficits on quiet standing and postural stabilization in patients affected by different forms of CMT, comparing their performances with those of healthy subjects. Seventy-six CMT subjects (CMT1A, CMT2 and CMTX1) and 41 healthy controls were evaluated during a sit-to-stand transition and the subsequent quiet upright posture by means of a dynamometric platform. All CMT patients showed altered balance and postural stabilization compared to controls. Multivariate analysis showed that in CMT patients worsening of postural stabilization was related to vibration sense deficit and to dorsi-flexor's weakness, while quiet standing instability was related to the reduction of pinprick sensibility and to plantar-flexor's weakness. Our results show that specific sensory and muscular deficits play different roles in balance impairment of CMT patients, both during postural stabilization and in static posture. An accurate evaluation of residual sensory and muscular functions is therefore necessary to plan for the appropriate balance rehabilitation treatment for each patient, besides the CMT type.
Project description:Background. Impairments in postural control in Huntington disease (HD) have important consequences for daily functioning. This observational study systematically examined baseline postural control and the effect of sensory attenuation and sensory enhancement on postural control across the spectrum of HD. Methods. Participants (n = 39) included healthy controls and individuals in premanifest (pHD) and manifest stages (mHD) of HD. Using wearable sensors, postural control was assessed according to (1) postural set (sit vs stand), (2) sensory attenuation using clinical test of sensory integration, and (3) sensory enhancement with gaze fixation. Outcomes included sway smoothness, amplitude, and frequency. Results. Based on postural set, pHD reduced postural sway in sitting relative to standing, whereas mHD had pronounced sway in standing and sitting, highlighting a baseline postural deficit. During sensory attenuation, postural control in pHD deteriorated relative to controls when proprioceptive demands were high (eyes closed on foam), whereas mHD had significant deterioration of postural control when proprioception was attenuated (eyes open and closed on foam). Finally, gaze fixation improved sway smoothness, amplitude, and frequency in pHD; however, no benefit was observed in mHD. Conclusions. Systematic examination of postural control revealed a fundamental postural deficit in mHD, which further deteriorates when proprioception is challenged. Meanwhile, postural deficits in pHD are detectable when proprioceptive challenge is high. Sensory enhancing strategies using gaze fixation to benefit posture may be useful when introduced well before motor diagnosis. These findings encourage further examination of wearable sensors as part of routine clinical assessments in HD.
Project description:The effects of different factors-such as age, sex, performance level, and athletic shoe features-on postural balance in athletes remain unclear. The main objective of our study is to identify the features of postural stability in athletes of different age, sex, performance level, and using different types of athletic shoes. This study assessed postural stability in athletes (n = 936, 6-47 years) in a normal bipedal stance with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC). Postural stability was evaluated based on the center of pressure (COP), sway area (AS), and velocity (VCP) while standing on a stabiloplatform. Children (6-12 years) and teen athletes (13-17 years) showed reduced AS-EO (p < 0.01) and VCP-EO (p < 0.01) compared to control (n = 225, 7-30 years). In male and female athletes aged 18+, only VCP-EC was lower versus control. In females (13-17 and 18+), VCP-EO and EC were lower than in males (p < 0.05). Only in the Shooting group, the athletes' performance levels had an effect on VCP-EO (p = 0.020). Long use of rigid athletic shoes with stiff ankle support was associated with reduced posture stability. Postural stability in athletes was mostly influenced by the athlete's age, and, to a lesser extent, by their sex, performance level, and athlete shoe features.
Project description:Online stabilization of human standing posture utilizes multisensory afferences (e.g., vision). Whereas visual feedback of spontaneous postural sway can stabilize postural control especially when observers concentrate on their body and intend to minimize postural sway, the effect of intentional control of visual feedback on postural sway itself remains unclear. This study assessed quiet standing posture in healthy adults voluntarily controlling or merely observing visual feedback. The visual feedback (moving square) had either low or high gain and was either horizontally flipped or not. Participants in the voluntary-control group were instructed to minimize their postural sway while voluntarily controlling visual feedback, whereas those in the observation group were instructed to minimize their postural sway while merely observing visual feedback. As a result, magnified and flipped visual feedback increased postural sway only in the voluntary-control group. Furthermore, regardless of the instructions and feedback manipulations, the experienced sense of control over visual feedback positively correlated with the magnitude of postural sway. We suggest that voluntarily controlled, but not merely observed, visual feedback is incorporated into the feedback control system for posture and begins to affect postural sway.
Project description:Postural control is not a fully automatic process, but requires a certain level of attention, particularly as the difficulty of the postural task increases. This study aimed at testing whether experienced contemporary dancers, because of their specialized training involving the control of posture/balance, would present with a dual-task performance suggesting lesser attentional demands associated with dynamic postural control compared with non-dancers. Twenty dancers and 16 non-dancers performed a dynamic postural tracking task in both antero-posterior and side-to-side directions, while standing on a force platform. The postural task was performed, in turn, 1) as a stand-alone task, and concurrently with both 2) a simple reaction time task and 3) a choice reaction time task. Postural control performance was estimated through variables calculated from centre of pressure movements. Although no overall group difference was found in reaction time values, we found a better ability to control the side to side movements of the centre of pressure during the tracking task in dancers compared with non-dancers, which was dependent on the secondary task. This suggests that such increased ability is influenced by available attentional resources.