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Neural Control of Walking Balance: IF Falling THEN React ELSE Continue

Misiaszek, John E.

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2006 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 128-134

Many different corrective reactions can be used to regain balance during walking. However, the nervous system does not hesitate to decide which reaction will be used. A rule-based finite state control system that preselects appropriate reactions is a practical way to simplify this task. The proposed model suggests that much of this is achieved by groups of spinal interneurons.

Balance control during walking can be viewed as a finite state control system governed by groups of spinal interneurons.

Sensory-Motor Research Laboratory, Department of Occupational Therapy and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Address for correspondence: John E. Misiaszek, Ph.D., BSc Department of Occupational Therapy, 2-64 Corbett Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G4 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: April 5, 2006.

Associate Editor: E. Paul Zehr Ph.D.

©2006 The American College of Sports Medicine