Vestibulospinal Control of Posture
To better understand the role of the vestibular system in postural coordination, we compared the ability of subjects with complete, bilateral loss of vestibular function and age-matched control subjects to maintain equilibrium and postural orientation during sinusoidal displacements of the support surface at a variety of frequencies. We also examined the ability of visual or somatosensory-light touch information to substitute for missing vestibular information in dynamic postural coordination. The results suggest that vestibular information is used as a gravitational reference frame to prevent slow drift of the trunk in space during complex postural tasks. Furthermore, visual information or somatosensory information from light touch of a finger on a stable reference can significantly substitute for loss of vestibular function.
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