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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-1106
    Keywords: Key words Parkinson’s disease ; Postural set ; Stance ; Background activity ; EMG
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Medicine
    Notes: Abstract  Abnormal automatic postural responses are thought to contribute to balance impairment in Parkinson’s disease. However, because postural responses are modifiable by stance, we have speculated that some postural abnormalities in patients with Parkinson’s disease are secondary to their stooped stance. We have studied this assumption by assessing automatic postural responses in 30 healthy subjects who were instructed either to stand upright or to assume a typical parkinsonian posture. During both conditions, subjects received 20 serial 4°’toe-up’ rotational perturbations from a supporting forceplate. We recorded short-latency (SL) and medium-latency (ML) responses from stretched gastrocnemius muscles and long-latency (LL) responses from shortened tibialis anterior muscles. We also assessed changes in the center of foot pressure (CFP) and the center of gravity (COG). The results were qualitatively compared to a previously described group of patients with Parkinson’s disease who, under these circumstances, typically have large ML responses, small LL responses and insufficient voluntary postural corrections, accompanied by a slow rate of backward CFP displacement and an increased posterior COG displacement. The stooped posture resulted in unloading of medial gastrocnemius muscles and loading of tibialis anterior muscles. Onset latencies of stretch responses in gastrocnemius muscles were delayed in stooped subjects, but the onset of LL responses was markedly reduced. Amplitudes of both ML and LL responses were reduced in stooped subjects. Prestimulus COG and, to a lesser extent, CFP were shifted forwards in stooped subjects. Posterior COG displacement and the rate of backward CFP displacement were diminished in stooped subjects. Voluntary postural corrections were unchanged while standing stooped. These results indicate that some postural abnormalities of patients with Parkinson’s disease (most notably the reduced LL responses) can be reproduced in healthy subjects mimicking a stooped parkinsonian posture. Other postural abnormalities (most notably the increased ML responses and insufficient voluntary responses) did not appear in stooped controls and may contribute to balance impairment in Parkinson’s disease.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1469-8986
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Medicine , Psychology
    Notes: We compared the effects of laughter and several respiratory movements on spinal motor excitability to unravel their respective influences. We measured H-reflexes in 13 healthy volunteers during 10 different tasks (including laughter, simulated laughter, and various respiratory movements). We compared the percentage that remained of the initial H-reflex during each task with that during a neutral task. H-reflex percentage differed between the neutral task (79.4±16.1%), true laughter (43.7±17.9%), and simulated laughter (66.6±24.3%), and between the two latter tasks. Coughing also resulted in H-reflex suppression, but not as deeply as true laughter. During the other respiratory maneuvers, the H-reflex increased compared to the neutral task. Our finding that true laughter evoked more H-reflex depression than simulated laughter suggests that mirth on its own depresses the H-reflex. This mechanism may also be involved in the pathophysiology of cataplexy, the main symptom of narcolepsy.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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