Changes in cortical activity associated with adaptive behavior during repeated balance perturbation of unpredictable timing

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


The compensation for a sudden balance perturbation, unpracticed and unpredictable in timing and magnitude is accompanied by pronounced postural instability that is suggested to be causal to falls. However, subsequent presentations of an identical perturbation are characterized by a marked decrease of the amplitude of postural reactions; a phenomenon called adaptation or habituation. This study aimed to identify cortical characteristics associated with adaptive behavior during repetitive balance perturbations based on single-trial analyses of the P1 and N1 perturbation-evoked potentials. Thirty-seven young men were exposed to ten transient balance perturbations while balancing on the dominant leg. Thirty two-channel electroencephalography (EEG), surface electromyography (EMG) of the ankle plantar flexor muscles and postural sway (i.e., Euclidean distance of the supporting platform) were recorded simultaneously. The P1 and N1 potentials were localized and the amplitude/latency was analyzed trial by trial. The best match sources for P1 and N1 potentials were located in the parietal (Brodmann area (BA) 5) and midline fronto-central cortex (BA 6), respectively. The amplitude and latency of the P1 potential remained unchanged over trials. In contrast, a significant adaptation of the N1 amplitude was observed. Similar adaptation effects were found with regard to postural sway and ankle plantarflexors EMG activity of the non-dominant (free) leg; i.e., an indicator for reduced muscular co-contraction and/or less temporary bipedal stance to regain stability. Significant but weak correlations were found between N1 amplitude and postural sway as well as EMG activity. These results highlight the important role of the midline fronto-central cortex for adaptive behavior associated with balance control.

ZeitschriftFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2015


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