Document Detail

Meta level concept versus classic reflex concept for the control of posture and movement.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15260376     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Postural reflexes are replaced soon after birth by automatic reactions that allow for volition and cognition. It is still an enigma how this change in postural control is achieved. We suggest that the change involves the formation of a sensory processing level (meta level) that becomes interleaved in between the tight sensor-actuator coupling of the classic reflexes. We assume that the brain applies at this level intersensory interactions to reconstruct the physical stimuli which are causing the physiological stimuli and sensory signals. The thus derived estimates of the physical stimuli are then used as feedback signals in the posture control system. We present this concept on the background of the classic reflex concept and earlier attempts in the literature to overcome it. The earlier attempts were often motivated by the question how the brain prevents voluntary movements from being hampered by reflexive stabilisation of posture (so-called posture-movement problem). We compare our new concept with the classic reflex concept in a theoretical approach, by implementing both concepts into simple postural control models. In simulations of the two models we superimpose external perturbations (the physical stimuli) and a voluntary body lean movement. We show that it is possible to achieve successful stimulus compensation and unperturbed lean movement with both, the model derived from the new concept and the one of the classic reflex concept. With both approaches, the posture-movement problem does not arise. Based on preliminary considerations that include experimental findings from the literature, however, we conclude that the new concept provides more explanatory power than the classic reflex concept.
T Mergner
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Archives italiennes de biologie     Volume:  142     ISSN:  0003-9829     ISO Abbreviation:  Arch Ital Biol     Publication Date:  2004 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2004-07-20     Completed Date:  2004-09-24     Revised Date:  2009-10-05    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372441     Medline TA:  Arch Ital Biol     Country:  Italy    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  175-98     Citation Subset:  IM    
Neurologische Klinik, Universität Freiburg, Breisacher Str 64, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Central Nervous System / cytology,  physiology*
Feedback / physiology
Gravity Sensing / physiology
Models, Neurological*
Movement / physiology*
Neck Muscles / physiology
Postural Balance / physiology
Posture / physiology*
Proprioception / physiology
Reflex / physiology*
Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology

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