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People with cerebellar ataxia lack lower limb coordination and dissipate sway motion slowly and inefficiently after a posture perturbation. We report a practical and low-cost "human resonance frequency test" for both laboratory and clinical use to quantify progress in balance and cerebellar rehabilitation. We assumed that the center-of-pressure (COP) oscillation rate of decay following a standing posture perturbation is directly related to resonance frequency; a more rapidly dissipating COP oscillation about the position of equilibrium indicates, by definition, more efficient postural control. We hypothesized that following successful physical rehabilitation, people with cerebellar degeneration will have a faster rate of decay of the COP response to an external perturbation. Because the COP is modulated by a synergy of trunk and lower limb motion strategies, COP decay rate may be a useful measure of lower limb coordination in people with cerebellar ataxia. The method was applied to three subjects with cerebellar ataxia before and after rehabilitation; there was good agreement between the calculated COP decay rate and conventionally used gait stability parameters providing pilot data for this simple approach.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:9 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: March 2001