Galvanic vestibular stimulation for analysis of postural adaptation and stability

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 1995 Mar;42(3):282-92. doi: 10.1109/10.364515.


Human postural dynamics was investigated in 12 normal subjects by means of a force platform recording body sway, induced by bipolar transmastoid galvanic stimulation of the vestibular nerve and labyrinth. The model adopted was that of an inverted segmented pendulum, the dynamics of postural control being assumed to be reflected in the stabilizing forces actuated by the feet as a result of complex muscular activity subject to state feedback of body sway and position. Time-series analysis demonstrates that a transfer function from stimulus to sway-force response with specific parameters can be identified. In addition, adaptation to the vestibular stimulus is demonstrated to exist, and we describe this phenomenon using quantification in terms of a postural adaptation time constant in the range of 40-50 s. The results suggest means to evaluate adaptive behavior and postural control in the erect human being which may be useful in the rehabilitation of individuals striving to regain upright stance.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ear, Inner / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Models, Biological
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Vestibular Nerve / physiology*