The objective for this study was to investigate whether the adaptation of postural control was similar during galvanic vestibular stimulation and during vibratory proprioceptive stimulation of the calf muscles. Healthy subjects were tested during erect stance with eyes open or closed. An analysis method designed to consider the adaptive adjustments was used to evaluate the motion dynamics and the evoked changes of posture and stimulation response. Galvanic vestibular stimulation induced primarily lateral body movements and vibratory proprioceptive stimulation induced anteroposterior movements. The lateral body sway generated by the galvanic stimulation was proportionally smaller and contained more high-frequency movements (> 0.1 Hz) than the anteroposterior body sway induced by the vibratory stimulation. The adaptive adjustments of the body sway to the stimulation had similar time course and magnitude during galvanic and vibratory stimulation. The perturbations induced by stimulation were gradually reduced within the same time range (15-20 s) and both kinds of stimulation induced a body leaning whose direction was dependent on stimulus. The similarities in the adjustment patterns suggest that postural control operates in the same way independent of the receptor systems affected by the disturbance and irrespective of whether the motion responses were induced in a lateral or anteroposterior direction.
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