Reweighting of sensory inputs to control quiet standing in children from 7 to 11 and in adults

Abstract : How sensory organization for postural control matures in children is not clear at this time. The present study examined, in children aged 7 to 11 and in adults, the postural control modifications in quiet standing when somatosensory inputs from the ankle were disturbed. Since the reweighting of sensory inputs is not mature before 10, we hypothesized that postural stability was more affected in children than in adults when somatosensory inputs were altered and that this postural instability decreased as age increased during childhood. 37 children aged 7 to 11 years and 9 adults participated in the experiments. The postural task was a semi-tandem position with the right foot in front of the left one. Postural performance was measured by means of a force platform. Two experimental conditions were presented to the participants to maintain quiet standing: With or without altered somatosensory inputs (i.e., with or without ankles vibration). Results showed that postural stability--and thus how the reweighting process of the visual/somatosensory inputs matured--increased non-monotonically between 7 years of age and adult age: There was a linear improvement of postural stability from 7 to 10, followed by a more steady behaviour between 10 and 11 and then postural stability increased to reach the adults' level of performance.
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Rémy Cuisinier, Isabelle Olivier, Marianne Vaugoyeau, Vincent Nougier, Christine Assaiante. Reweighting of sensory inputs to control quiet standing in children from 7 to 11 and in adults. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2011, 6 (5), pp.e19697. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0019697⟩. ⟨hal-00775912⟩

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