Head stabilization on a continuously oscillating platform: the effect of a proprioceptive disturbance on the balancing strategy.Exp Brain Res. 2005 Aug; 165(2):261-72.EB
When standing and balancing on a continuously and predictably moving platform, body equilibrium relies on both anticipatory control and proprioceptive feedback. We have vibrated different postural muscles of the body to assess any effect of confounding the proprioceptive input on balance during such unstable conditions. Low and high platform oscillation frequencies were used, because different strategies are used to withstand the two perturbations. Eyes open (EO) and closed (EC) conditions were also tested, to assess whether the stabilizing effect of vision is independent from the proprioceptive disturbance. Subjects (n = 14) performed two series of trials, EO and EC: (1) quiet erect stance, (2) stance on the platform translating at 0.2 or 0.6 Hz sinusoidally in the anteroposterior (A-P) direction (dynamic conditions). Continuous bilateral vibration (90 Hz) was produced by two vibrators fixed to the following homonymous muscles: dorsal neck, quadriceps, biceps femoris, tibialis anterior, and triceps surae. Acquisition of body segments' displacement began 10 s after the start of platform translation. From markers fixed to head, hip, and malleolus, we computed the A-P oscillation of head and hip, body orientation in space, and cross-correlation (CC) and time-delay between malleolus and head trajectories. The results were (a) the head A-P oscillation was smaller with EO than EC, under both quiet stance and dynamic conditions; (b) vibration of tibialis and triceps surae, but not of other muscles, slightly increased head and body A-P oscillation with EC under dynamic conditions; (c) at 0.2 Hz but not at 0.6 Hz, for all visual and vibration conditions, there was a significant association between head and feet; (d) at 0.2 Hz, EC, neck muscle vibration increased this association, whereas vibration of the other muscles induced a major time delay in the oscillation of head compared with feet; (e) vibration of either neck or tibialis induced forward body leaning, while vibration of either triceps surae or biceps femoris induced backward leaning, with both EO and EC, under both static and dynamic conditions; (f) the head A-P oscillation, however, under dynamic conditions was not dependent on body leaning. The relatively scarce effects of proprioceptive disturbance on head stabilization and multijoint coordination (in spite of effects on body orientation similar to those observed during stance) speak for a major role of anticipatory control in the dynamic equilibrium task. However, the significant vibration-induced time delay in segments' coordination at low translation frequency, EC, suggests that the normally patterned Ia input promotes continuous adjustments of the feed-forward control mode.