Vestibular loss disrupts control of head and trunk on a sinusoidally moving platform

John J. Buchanan, Fay B. Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Twelve subjects, 6 bilateral vestibular-loss (3 well compensated and 3 poorly compensated) and 6 controls, attempted to maintain balance during anterior-posterior sinusoidal surface translation at 6 different frequencies. For frequencies ≤ 0.25 Hz well compensated and control subjects rode the platform by fixing the head and upper-trunk with respect to the support surface, and for frequencies ≥ 0.75 Hz, these subjects fixed their head/upper-trunk in space. Poorly compensated vestibular subjects showed large head and center of mass variability and were unable to balance at frequencies requiring a head fixed in space pattern. All vestibular subjects were less stable with vision than the controls. Without vision, vestibular subjects experienced more falls than the controls at all frequencies, with falls observed in 61% of the vestibular subjects' trials and 16% of the control subjects' trials. Vestibular information is important in stabilizing head and upper-trunk motion in space. Visual and somatosensory information can compensate, in part, for vestibular-loss. The results are discussed in light of models that characterize postural control in a vestibular/visual top-down and somatosensory bottom-up manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-389
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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