After sustained stepping in-place on a rotating disc, healthy subjects will inadvertently turn in circles when asked to step in-place on a stationary surface with eyes closed. We asked whether the cerebellum is important for this adaptive phenomenon, called podokinetic after-rotation (PKAR). Subjects with cerebellar degeneration and age-matched control subjects performed 15 min of stepping in-place with eyes open on a rotating disc, then 30 min of attempting to step in-place with eyes closed on a stationary surface. Rotational velocity of PKAR was measured during this 30-min period. All control subjects demonstrated PKAR; average initial rotational velocity for control subjects was 16.4±3.5°/s. Five of the eight cerebellar subjects demonstrated impaired PK adaptation, defined as PKAR with an initial velocity more than two standard deviations below the control mean initial velocity. Average initial rotational velocity for cerebellar subjects was 7.8±0.2°/s. Impaired PK adaptation was not associated with impaired time constants of decay and was not correlated with variability of PKAR velocity. Our results suggest that the cerebellum is important for regulation of the amplitude of PK adaptation and that reduced PKAR amplitude is not likely the result of dyscoordination or variability of movement in the subjects tested.
- Sensorimotor adaptation
ASJC Scopus subject areas