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Effect of transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation (TENS) and vibration on human postural sway

Grant number: 07/03608-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2007
Effective date (End): October 31, 2011
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Biomedical Engineering - Bioengineering
Principal Investigator:André Fábio Kohn
Grantee:Fernando Henrique Magalhães
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Human subjects during upright stance show a random postural sway with respect to vertical, which is controlled by the central nervous system on the basis of information from sensory inputs applied to the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive systems. A deficit in any of these sensory systems causes a loss in the performance of the postural control system, which results in an increased amplitude of the postural sway and a larger tendency to falls. The task of the central nervous system in maintaining the upright stance in humans may be approximated by the equilibration of an inverted pendulum. The investigation of how the nervous system carries out such a task has been studied in several ways, for example by applying sensory inputs in addition to those occurring naturally. Some of these experimentally employed sensory stimuli include transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation (TENS) and vibration, which are commonly used by physiotherapists. There are reports showing that these two kinds of stimulation may have antagonistic effects on postural sway, being able to increase or decrease it, depending on intensity and waveform. The aim of this work is to investigate the effects of different patterns and points of application of TENS and vibration stimulation on postural sway, with the aim of improving the understanding of postural control neurophysiology. The results with healthy subjects may indicate the clinical potential usage of these sensory stimulation techniques. Different experimental approaches will be employed in this research, blending techniques and expertise from both the Physiotherapy and Biomedical Engineering fields. (AU)

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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)
MAGALHAES, FERNANDO HENRIQUE; KOHN, ANDRE FABIO. Vibration-enhanced posture stabilization achieved by tactile supplementation: May blind individuals get extra benefits?. Medical Hypotheses, v. 77, n. 2, p. 301-304, AUG 2011. Web of Science Citations: 5.
MAGALHAES, FERNANDO HENRIQUE; KOHN, ANDRE FABIO. Vibratory noise to the fingertip enhances balance improvement associated with light touch. Experimental Brain Research, v. 209, n. 1, p. 139-151, Mar. 2011. Web of Science Citations: 27.
MAGALHAES, FERNANDO H.; KOHN, ANDRE F. Vibration-induced extra torque during electrically-evoked contractions of the human calf muscles. JOURNAL OF NEUROENGINEERING AND REHABILITATION, v. 7, JUN 10 2010. Web of Science Citations: 17.

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