Postural control model interpretation of stabilogram diffusion analysis
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Collins and De Luca [Collins JJ, De Luca CJ (1993) Exp Brain Res 95: 308–318] introduced a new method known as stabilogram diffusion analysis that provides a quantitative statistical measure of the apparently random variations of center-of-pressure (COP) trajectories recorded during quiet upright stance in humans. This analysis generates a stabilogram diffusion function (SDF) that summarizes the mean square COP displacement as a function of the time interval between COP comparisons. SDFs have a characteristic two-part form that suggests the presence of two different control regimes: a short-term open-loop control behavior and a longer-term closed-loop behavior. This paper demonstrates that a very simple closed-loop control model of upright stance can generate realistic SDFs. The model consists of an inverted pendulum body with torque applied at the ankle joint. This torque includes a random disturbance torque and a control torque. The control torque is a function of the deviation (error signal) between the desired upright body position and the actual body position, and is generated in proportion to the error signal, the derivative of the error signal, and the integral of the error signal [i.e. a proportional, integral and derivative (PID) neural controller]. The control torque is applied with a time delay representing conduction, processing, and muscle activation delays. Variations in the PID parameters and the time delay generate variations in SDFs that mimic real experimental SDFs. This model analysis allows one to interpret experimentally observed changes in SDFs in terms of variations in neural controller and time delay parameters rather than in terms of open-loop versus closed-loop behavior.
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