Résumé

Understanding how the human brain cortex behaves when the dynamical balance is unexpectedly challenged can be useful to enable fall prevention strategies during daily activities. In this respect, we designed and tested a novel methodological approach to early detect modifications of the scalp-level signals when steady walking is perturbed. Four young adults were asked to manage unexpected bilateral slippages while steadily walking at their self-selected speed. Lower limb kinematics, electromyographic (EMG) and electroencephalographic (EEG; 13 channels from motor and sensory motor cortex areas) signals were synchronously recorded. EMG signals from Vastus Medialis (both sides) were used to trigger the analysis of the EEG before and after the perturbation onset. Cortical activity was then assessed and compared pre vs. post perturbation. Specifically, for each gait cycle, the rate of variation of the EEG power spectrum density, named in, was used to describe the cortical responsiveness in five bands of interests: theta (4-7 Hz), alpha (8-12 Hz), beta I, beta II, beta III rhythms (13-15, 15-20, 18-28 Hz). Results revealed a sharp increment of m early after the onset of the perturbation (perturbed step) compared to steady locomotion, for all rhythms. This cortical behavior disappeared during the recovery step. This study promisingly supports the evidence that the proposed approach can distinguish between steady walking and early reactive balance recovery, paving the way for the EEG-based monitoring of the fall risk during daily activities.

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