Cortical recruitment and functional dynamics in postural control adaptation and habituation during vibratory proprioceptive stimulation

K. J. Edmunds*, H. Petersen, M. Hassan, S. Yassine, A. Olivieri, F. Barollo, R. Friðriksdóttir, P. Edmunds, M. K. Gíslason, A. Fratini, P. Gargiulo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Maintaining upright posture is a complex task governed by the integration of afferent sensorimotor and visual information with compensatory neuromuscular reactions. The objective of the present work was to characterize the visual dependency and functional dynamics of cortical activation during postural control. Approach. Proprioceptic vibratory stimulation of calf muscles at 85 Hz was performed to evoke postural perturbation in open-eye (OE) and closed-eye (CE) experimental trials, with pseudorandom binary stimulation phases divided into four segments of 16 stimuli. 64-channel EEG was recorded at 512 Hz, with perturbation epochs defined using bipolar electrodes placed proximal to each vibrator. Power spectra variation and linearity analysis was performed via fast Fourier transformation into six frequency bands (Δ, 0.5–3.5 Hz; θ, 3.5–7.5 Hz; α, 7.5–12.5 Hz; β, 12.5–30 Hz; γlow, 30–50 Hz; and γhigh, 50–80 Hz). Finally, functional connectivity assessment was explored via network segregation and integration analyses. Main results. Spectra variation showed waveform and vision-dependent activation within cortical regions specific to both postural adaptation and habituation. Generalized spectral variation yielded significant shifts from low to high frequencies in CE adaptation trials, with overall activity suppressed in habituation; OE trials showed the opposite phenomenon, with both adaptation and habituation yielding increases in spectral power. Finally, our analysis of functional dynamics reveals novel cortical networks implicated in postural control using EEG source-space brain networks. In particular, our reported significant increase in local θ connectivity May signify the planning of corrective steps and/or the analysis of falling consequences, while α band network integration results reflect an inhibition of error detection within the cingulate cortex, likely due to habituation. Significance. Our findings principally suggest that specific cortical waveforms are dependent upon the availability of visual feedback, and we furthermore present the first evidence that local and global brain networks undergo characteristic modification during postural control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026037
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported jointly by the Institute for Biomedical and Neural Engineering at the University of Reykja-vík, the Department of Anatomy at the University of Iceland, and the Icelandic National Hospital (Landspítali Scientific Fund, PI: Paolo Gargiulo) with additional funding support from the Rannís Icelandic Research Fund (Rannsóknasjodur, PI: Paolo Gargiulo). We would likewise like to acknowledge our international collaborators at the University of Rennes, the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University, and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Naples, Federico II.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK.

Other keywords

  • EEG
  • Functional connectivity
  • Power spectral density
  • Proprioceptive stimulation
  • Vertical posture


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