Human Postural Responses to Vibratory Stimulation of Calf Muscles under Conditions of Visual Inversion

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The authors studied postural responses to bilateral vibratory stimulation (70 Hz, 1 mm, 2 s) of the calf triceps proprioceptors or anterior tibial muscles. Anteroposterior body tilts evoked by vibration were recorded by stabilography. The authors compared the values of postural responses under various conditions of visual control, namely, with normal vision, eyes closed, right–left inversion of the visual space by prismatic spectacles, central vision, and diffuse light. Visual inversion influenced the subjects' proprioceptive postural responses. The amplitude of vibration-evoked shifts of the feet pressure center was minimal with eyes open and significantly increased with eyes closed and inverted vision. Postural responses with visual inversion were significantly stronger than with eyes closed. Since inversion spectacles enabled a subject to see only the central part of the visual field (20°), the reference point was the condition of central vision, i.e., spectacles with same visual angle and without prisms. Postural responses were significantly weaker under these conditions than with visual inversion and eyes closed. Visual field inversion by prismatic spectacles made it impossible to use visual information for stabilizing the human upright posture and, moreover, destabized it. True, this holds only for a randomized experimental protocol, which prevents adaptation to prisms.

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