Background: Good balance depends on accurate and adequate information from the senses. One way to substitute missing sensory information for balance is with biofeedback technology. We previously reported that audio-biofeedback (ABF) has beneficial effects in subjects with profound vestibular loss, since it significantly reduces body sway in quiet standing tasks. Methods: In this paper, we present the effects of a portable prototype of an ABF system on healthy subjects' upright stance postural stability, in conditions of limited and unreliable sensory information. Stabilogram diffusion analysis, combined with traditional center of pressure analysis and surface electromyography, were applied to the analysis of quiet standing tasks on a Temper foam surface with eyes closed. Results: These analyses provided new evidence that ABF may be used to treat postural instability. In fact, the results of the stabilogram diffusion analysis suggest that ABF increased the amount of feedback control exerted by the brain for maintaining balance. The resulting increase in postural stability was not at the expense of leg muscular activity, which remained almost unchanged. Conclusion: Examination of the SDA and the EMG activity supported the hypothesis that ABF does not induce an increased stiffness (and hence more co-activation) in leg muscles, but rather helps the brain to actively change to a more feedback-based control activity over standing posture.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics