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Ting - 2004 - Ratio of shear to load GRF may underlie the ... tuning of the APR


Ting LH, Macpherson JM. Ratio of shear to load ground-reaction force may underlie the directional tuning of the automatic postural response to rotation and translation. J Neurophysiol. 2004 Aug;92(2):808-23. PUBMED - FULL TEXT

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This study sought to identify the sensory signals that encode perturbation direction rapidly enough to shape the directional tuning of the automatic postural response. We compared reactions to 16 directions of pitch and roll rotation and 16 directions of linear translation in the horizontal plane in freely standing cats. Rotations and translations that displaced the center of mass in the same direction relative to the feet evoked similar patterns of muscle activity and active ground-reaction force, suggesting the presence of a single, robust postural strategy for stabilizing the center of mass in both rotation and translation. Therefore we postulated there should be a common sensory input that encodes the direction of the perturbation and leads to the directional tuning of the early electromyographic burst in the postural response. We compared the mechanical changes induced by rotations and translations prior to the active, postural response. The only consistent feature common to the full range of rotation and translation directions was the initial change in ground-reaction force angle. Other variables including joint angles, ground-reaction force magnitudes, center of pressure, and center of mass in space showed opposite or nonsignificant changes for rotation and translation. Change in force angle at the paw reflects the ratio of loading force to slip force, analogous to slips during finger grip tasks. We propose that cutaneous sensors in the foot soles detect change in ground-reaction force angle and provide the critical input underlying the directional tuning of the automatic postural response for balance.


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