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When mechanical engineering inspired from physiology improves postural-related somatosensory processes

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Marie Fabre
  • Function : Author
Francesco Massi
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 952050
Jean Blouin
Laurence Mouchnino
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 995565

Abstract

Being the first stimulated by the relative movement of foot skin and the underneath moving support surface, the plantar tactile receptors (i.e., mechanoreceptors) play an important role in the sensorimotor transformation giving rise to a postural reaction. In this light, a surface (i.e., biomimetic) complying with the characteristics of the mechanoreceptors and the skin dermatoglyphs (i.e., pattern of the ridges) should facilitate the cortical processes in response to the somatosensory stimulation involved in the balance recovery motor control. Healthy young adults (n = 21) were standing still either on a biomimetic surface or on two control surfaces (i.e., grooved or smooth), when a sudden but low acceleration of the supporting surface along the lateral direction was triggered. A shorter and greater robust evoked somatosensory response (i.e., SEP) was observed when participants were standing on the biomimetic surface. As well, a lower oscillatory response in the time-frequency domain, including a theta response (5-7 Hz) in the left posterior parietal cortex (PPC), was recorded with the biomimetic surface. The observed higher shear forces induced by the interaction between the feet and the biomimetic surface, during the displacement, was likely at the origin of the increased SEP. Besides, the decrease of theta power suggests that the balance task became less challenging. This interpretation was tested in a second experiment by adding a cognitive task, which should be less detrimental for the postural reaction in participants standing on a biomimetic surface. According to that hypothesis, an efficient postural reaction (i.e., shorter latency and greater amplitude) was observed for the biomimetic surface.
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hal-03736181 , version 1 (22-07-2022)

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Chloé Sutter, Marie Fabre, Francesco Massi, Jean Blouin, Laurence Mouchnino. When mechanical engineering inspired from physiology improves postural-related somatosensory processes. 2022. ⟨hal-03736181⟩

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CNRS UNIV-AMU
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