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Background

Studies of human upright posture typically have stressed the need to control ankle and hip joints to achieve postural stability. Recent studies, however, suggest that postural stability involves multi degree-of-freedom DOF coordination, especially when performing supra-postural tasks. This study investigated kinematic synergies related to control of the body’s position in space two, four and six DOF models and changes in the head’s orientation six DOF model.

Methodology-Principal Findings

Subjects either tracked a vertically moving target with a head-mounted laser pointer or fixated a stationary point during 4-min trials. Uncontrolled manifold UCM analysis was performed across tracking cycles at each point in time to determine the structure of joint configuration variance related to postural stability or tracking consistency. The effect of simulated removal of covariance among joints on that structure was investigated to further determine the role of multijoint coordination. Results indicated that cervical joint motion was poorly coordinated with other joints to stabilize the position of the body center of mass CM. However, cervical joints were coordinated in a flexible manner with more caudal joints to achieve consistent changes in head orientation.

Conclusions-Significance

An understanding of multijoint coordination requires reference to the stability-control of important performance variables. The nature of that coordination differs depending on the reference variable. Stability of upright posture primarily involved multijoint coordination of lower extremity and lower trunk joints. Consistent changes in the orientation of the head, however, required flexible coordination of those joints with motion of the cervical spine. A two-segment model of postural control was unable to account for the observed stability of the CM position during the tracking task, further supporting the need to consider multijoint coordination to understand postural stability.



Autor: Eunse Park, Gregor Schöner, John P. Scholz

Fuente: http://plos.srce.hr/



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