Chapter

Control of Equilibrium in Humans

Marcos Duarte, Sandra M. S. F. Freitas and Vladimir Zatsiorsky

in Motor Control

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195395273
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863518 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395273.003.0010
Control of Equilibrium in Humans

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Evidence suggests that during standing, humans maintain their posture not about a fixed point but about a position that, in turn, is also moving. Studies of natural (unconstrained) prolonged upright standing (about several minutes) have shown that humans tend to oscillate about a moving reference position. Another example of this complex behavior is the postural sway of elderly adults. Commonly, older adults show an increase in postural sway, as compared to younger persons, when asked to stand as still as possible for a short period of time. However, during prolonged standing, elderly individuals adopt a “freezing” strategy that reflects their reduced ability to shift the body reference position in time. This chapter briefly reviews the control of equilibrium in humans during quiet standing and findings about prolonged unconstrained standing. It discusses the implications of these findings for understanding the control of equilibrium in humans.

Keywords: posture; balance; standing; posturography; elderly; equilibrium

Chapter.  8458 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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