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Effort to perceive the position of one visual horizontal line relative to another appearing close causes an earlier postural response to backward perturbation

Kunimura, Hiroshia; Matsuoka, Masakazua; Hamada, Naokia; Hiraoka, Koichib

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000001175
INTEGRATIVE SYSTEMS
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Humans make an effort to stabilize the body when a stable eye position is required to improve visibility. Perceiving the position of one visual object relative to another appearing close is relatively difficult compared with perceiving those objects appearing at a distance. Thus, humans must make an effort to stabilize their body to improve visibility when they attempt to perceive the position of one object relative to another appearing close. This process may enhance the response to postural perturbation. The present study tested this hypothesis. A total of 15 healthy participants maintained a position standing over the platform and gazed at a horizontal fixation line in front of them. One of the two warning sound cues was given in each trial; one predicted the forthcoming appearance of a horizontal line 2 mm above or below the horizontal fixation line (indistinct condition), and another predicted the forthcoming appearance of the horizontal line 2 cm above or 2 cm below the horizontal fixation line (distinct condition). After the warning sound cue, the support surface moved in the forward or backward direction. A horizontal line appeared 40 ms after the onset of the support surface motion at the level above or below the horizontal fixation line with the distance from the horizontal fixation line as the warning cue predicted. The participants verbally stated the position of the horizontal line relative to the horizontal fixation line after the offset of the support surface movement. The displacement of the head and sacrum was measured with acceleration sensors. A test of the simple main effect following an analysis of variance revealed that the peak downward displacement of the pelvis in the indistinct condition was significantly earlier than that in the distinct condition. This finding indicated that the effort to stabilize the body for improvement of visibility enhances the response of the pelvis to the forward movement of the support surface. This effect may be used for improvement of the postural response in patients with problems with postural control.

aGraduate School of Comprehensive Rehabilitation

bCollege of Health and Human Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, Habikino, Japan

Correspondence to Koichi Hiraoka, PhD, College of Health and Human Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University, 3-7-30 Habikino, Habikino 583-8555, Osaka, Japan Tel: +81 72 950 2875; e-mail: hiraoka@rehab.osakafu-u.ac.jp

Received September 25, 2018

Accepted November 2, 2018

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