Role of visual input in nonlinear postural control system
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Stabilometry signals involve irregular and unpredictable components. The purpose of the present study was to investigate these signals with a nonlinear technique to examine how the complexity of the postural control system breaks down under altered visual conditions. We evaluated the dynamical similarities of the postural control system when the eyes were open or closed, or when there was optokinetic stimulation (OKS). A similarity index was calculated by the cross-correlation integral between the two dynamics: eyes open and eyes closed, or eyes open with OKS. Using this technique, dynamical changes were not observed between eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. This result suggests that the nonvision condition does not produce any striking effect on the postural control system; instead, the eyes-open condition causes a decrease in the stochastic activity of the postural control system, which may originate mainly from the stiffness of the musculoskeletal systems. In contrast, the visual input of OKS affected the dynamics of the postural control system in nearly half of the subjects (group 2) despite showing no significant differences between the eyes-open condition and the other conditions for area as the conventional parameter. However, the other half of the subjects (group 1) did not experience any influence of OKS on their postural dynamics, despite showing significant differences between eyes-open and the other conditions for all traditional parameters. From the results for group 2, we hypothesize that OKS may induce the striking effect on dynamics properties of the multilink network system involving visual and vestibular cortex related to self-motion perception, which acts to decrease the stochastic activity in order to correct disturbed posture.
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