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Analysis of postural perturbation responses

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3 Author(s)
Krebs, D.E. ; Biomotion Lab., Massachusetts Gen. Hospital, Boston, MA, USA ; McGibbon, C.A. ; Goldvasser, D.

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.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )