Smooth enlargement of human standing sway by instability due to weak reaction floor and noise.
The postural control system is assessed by observing body sway while the subject involved aims at maintaining a specified up-right posture. Internal masses generate internal reaction forces that constitute an internal mechanical stimulus that may contribute to cause segmental displacements, i.e. body sway. Thus, gaining knowledge about the amplitude and direction of these reaction forces would contribute to gain insights into the mechanisms that influence the maintenance of balance and into its control. The 3-D force vector that acts on the body centre of mass (COM) and is associated with the transient blood movement at each cardiac cycle was assessed in a population sample of 20 young adults during the maintenance of a quiet up-right posture. Typical patterns of the three components of this force vector were identified. Relevant parameters were selected and submitted to sample statistics. For a number of them, linear correlation with subject-specific parameters was found. The antero-posterior force component was characterised by a triphasic major wave, the peaks of which had values up to 0.40 N. The vertical component showed a repeatable triphasic wave with peak-to-peak values in the range 1.3-3.0 N. The medio-lateral component showed relatively low peak-to-peak values (in the range 0.05-0.10 N). The resultant vector had an amplitude that underwent several oscillations during the cardiac cycle and reached its maximal value in the range 0.6-1.7 N.