Analysis of short- and long-term effects of adaptation in human postural control

Biol Cybern. 2002 May;86(5):355-65. doi: 10.1007/s00422-001-0305-y.


The short-term (i.e., days) and long-term (i.e., months) effects of adaptation to posturography examinations were investigated in 12 normal subjects who were repeatedly examined for five consecutive days and again after 90 days. The examinations were conducted both with eyes open and closed, and the perturbations were evoked by a pseudorandomly applied vibration stimulation to the calf muscles. The evoked anteroposterior responses were analyzed with a method considering adaptation in the slow changes in posture and in the stimulus-response relationship. Repetition of examinations on a daily basis revealed a gradual improvement of postural-control performance. The body sway induced by the stimulation was significantly reduced and the dynamical properties changed. Most of the improvements remained after 90 days, but some parameters such as the complexity of the control system used were increased to the initial level. The results confirm previous observations that postural control contains several partially independent adaptive processes, observed in terms of alteration of posture and as a progressive reduction of body sway induced by stimulation. The method used for the adaptation analysis in this study could be applied to analyze biological systems with multiple individual adaptive processes with different time courses or characteristics, or where the adaptation processes are related to multiple internal or external factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Torque
  • Vibration