How a plantar pressure-based, tongue-placed tactile biofeedback modifies postural control mechanisms during quiet standing
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The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of a plantar pressure-based, tongue-placed tactile biofeedback on postural control mechanisms during quiet standing. To this aim, 16 young healthy adults were asked to stand as immobile as possible with their eyes closed in two conditions of No-biofeedback and Biofeedback. Centre of foot pressure (CoP) displacements, recorded using a force platform, were used to compute the horizontal displacements of the vertical projection of the centre of gravity (CoG v ) and those of the difference between the CoP and the vertical projection of the CoG (CoP-CoG v ). Analysis of the CoP-CoG v displacements showed larger root mean square (RMS) and mean power frequencies (MPF) in the Biofeedback than in the No-biofeedback condition. Stabilogram-diffusion analysis further showed a concomitant increased spatial and reduced temporal transition point co-ordinates at which the corrective processes were initiated and an increased persistent behaviour of the CoP-CoG v displacements over the short-term region. Analysis of the CoG v displacements showed decreased RMS and increased MPF in the Biofeedback relative to the No-biofeedback condition. Stabilogram-diffusion analysis further indicated that these effects mainly stem from reduced spatio-temporal transition point co-ordinates at which the corrective process involving CoG v displacements is initiated and an increased anti-persistent behaviour of the CoG v displacements over the long-term region. Altogether, the present findings suggest that the main way the plantar pressure-based, tongue-placed tactile biofeedback improves postural control during quiet standing is via both a reduction of the correction thresholds and an increased efficiency of the corrective mechanism involving the CoG v displacements.
KeywordsBalance Biofeedback Tongue Display Unit Plantar pressure Centre of foot pressure Centre of gravity Stabilogram-diffusion analysis
The authors are indebted to Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita for introducing us to the Tongue Display Unit and for discussions about sensory substitution. Paul has been for us more than a partner or a supervisor: he was a master inspiring numerous new fields of research in many domains of neurosciences, biomedical engineering and physical rehabilitation. The authors would like to thank subject volunteers. The company Vista Medical is acknowledged for supplying the FSA Inshoe Foot pressure mapping system. This research was supported by the company IDS, Floralis (Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble), and the Fondation Garches. Special thanks also are extended to Thierry Millant for technical assistance and Zora B. for various contributions.
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