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Multivariable study of human postural control in response to haptic cues

Grant number: 12/09321-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2012
Effective date (End): July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Biomedical Engineering - Bioengineering
Principal researcher:André Fábio Kohn
Grantee:Cristiano Rocha da Silva
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Human subjects during upright stance show random postural oscillations which are controlled by central nervous system. The sensory feedback is based on information from the visual, vestibular, proprioceptive and cutaneous systems. A deficit in any of these sensory systems causes a loss in the performance of the postural control system, leading to increased amplitude of the postural oscillations, which is associated with a greater likelihood of falling. On the other hand, if there is an addition or amplification of sensory information in relation to those occurring naturally, there may be a significant improvement in posture control. An example of this effect occurs when the experimental subject lightly touches the fingertip ("light touch" or LT) on a surface fixed to the ground. This sensory (somestetic) cue is enough to reduce the amplitude of the postural oscillations during quiet stance. In a recent paper, we showed that if the supporting surface of the finger is stochastically vibrated, there is a further improvement as compared to LT. Such an improvement was attributed to the phenomenon resonance stochastic (RS) in sensory receptors. However, we need improve our knowledge on the mechanisms associated with LT, both in terms of sensory and motor aspects associated with the phenomenon. One of the objectives of the proposed research is to evaluate the degree of contribution of different populations of sensory receptors of the finger, hand, forearm and arm of the subject to the effect of LT. A question to be answered is whether a habituation effect of stochastic vibration of the contact surface occurs during SR. A second objective is to better understand the mechanisms of the improved motor performance during upright posture supplemented with LT. For example, we propose to investigate whether the main mechanism is associated with a stabilizing force generated by the plantar flexors, or wheter the main mechanism would be a minor wobble around the hip joint. Experimental approaches will merge tools and knowledge from Biomedical Engineering, neurophysiology and human biomechanics. There is potential applicability of the results to the clinical practice.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SILVA, CRISTIANO ROCHA; MAGALHAES, FERNANDO HENRIQUE; KOHN, ANDRE FABIO. Fingertip-Coupled Spindle Signaling Does Not Contribute to Reduce Postural Sway Under Light Touch. FRONTIERS IN PHYSIOLOGY, v. 10, . (16/10614-4, 11/17193-0, 15/13096-1, 12/09321-1)
MAGALHAES, FERNANDO HENRIQUE; ELIAS, LEONARDO ABDALA; DA SILVA, CRISTIANO ROCHA; DE LIMA, FELIPE FAVA; DE TOLEDO, DIANA REZENDE; KOHN, ANDRE FABIO. D1 and D2 Inhibitions of the Soleus H-Reflex Are Differentially Modulated during Plantarflexion Force and Position Tasks. PLoS One, v. 10, n. 11, . (11/13222-6, 13/14667-7, 13/10433-1, 12/09321-1, 11/17193-0)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
SILVA, Cristiano Rocha da. Estudo multivariável do controle postural humano em resposta a pistas sensoriais somestésicas. 2016. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Psicologia (IP/SBD) São Paulo.

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