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Motor ControlTheories, Experiments, and Applications$
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Frederic Danion, PhD and Mark Latash, PhD

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395273

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395273.001.0001

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Control of Equilibrium in Humans

Control of Equilibrium in Humans

Sway over Sway

(p.219) 10 Control of Equilibrium in Humans
Motor Control

Marcos Duarte

Sandra M. S. F. Freitas

Vladimir Zatsiorsky

Oxford University Press

Evidence suggests that during standing, humans maintain their posture not about a fixed point but about a position that, in turn, is also moving. Studies of natural (unconstrained) prolonged upright standing (about several minutes) have shown that humans tend to oscillate about a moving reference position. Another example of this complex behavior is the postural sway of elderly adults. Commonly, older adults show an increase in postural sway, as compared to younger persons, when asked to stand as still as possible for a short period of time. However, during prolonged standing, elderly individuals adopt a “freezing” strategy that reflects their reduced ability to shift the body reference position in time. This chapter briefly reviews the control of equilibrium in humans during quiet standing and findings about prolonged unconstrained standing. It discusses the implications of these findings for understanding the control of equilibrium in humans.

Keywords:   posture, balance, standing, posturography, elderly, equilibrium

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