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The Human Balance System

Ian Gao PBL 104: Nelson A
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Ian Gao

on 28 April 2011

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Transcript of The Human Balance System

The Human Balance System Ian Gao
PBL 104: Nelson A Oliver Nelson Frequent falls (2-3 times/week for the past 6 mo)

Sudden loss of balance, especially during rapid changes in position

No syncope, no lightheadedness, no dizziness


How does the body control balance? The Human Balance System A complex coordination of central and peripheral systems

What is balance?
Balance is the ability to maintain the body's center of mass over its base of support

Allows you to:
- See clearly while moving
- Identify orientation with respect to gravity
- Determine direction and speed of movement
- Make automatic postural adjustments to maintain posture and stability

Impaired balance can lead to:
- Unsteadiness
- Dizziness
- Vertigo
- Hearing and vision problems How is balance achieved? Vision (eyes) Proprioception (muscles and joints) Vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation) Eye Body muscles Sensory impulses sent to the brain that identify how a person is oriented relative to other objects Proprioceptive info from skin, muscles, and joints that are sensitive to stretch or pressure

Examples: soles of the feet, arms and legs, neck, ankles Utricle
Sacculus
3 semicircular canals Responds to head tilts and horizontal accelerations Responds to vertical accelerations Responds to angular rotations of the head automatic learned movements previously learned information Controls eye movements to stabilize gaze during active head movements What happens when balance is impaired? In addition to unsteadiness, other symptoms appear:
Dizziness
Vertigo
Vision and hearing problems
Nausea
Fatigue References Watson, MA, and Black, FO. "The human balance system - a complex coordination of central and peripheral systems." Vestibular Disorders Association. Publication No. S-7.

Barrett, KE, Barman, SM, Boitano, S, and Brooks, H. "Chapter 13. Hearing and Equilibrium." Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology, 23e: http://www.accessmedicine.com.ezproxy.galter.northwestern.edu/content.asp?aID=5240491.

Lecture 245: Posture
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