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Gravitational Physiology, Aging and Medicine

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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01865

The Promise of Stochastic Resonance in Falls Prevention

  • 1Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France
  • 2Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia
  • 3University of Dusseldorf Medical School, Germany
  • 4University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
  • 5Medical University of Graz, Austria

Multisensory integration is essential for maintenance of motor and cognitive abilities, thereby ensuring normal function and personal autonomy. Balance control is challenged during senescence or in motor disorders, leading to potential falls. Increased uncertainty in sensory signals is caused by a number of factors including noise, defined as a random and persistent disturbance that reduces the clarity of information. Counter-intuitively, noise can be beneficial in some conditions. Stochastic resonance is a mechanism whereby a particular level of noise actually enhances the response of nonlinear systems to weak sensory signals. Here we review the effects of stochastic resonance on sensory modalities and systems directly involved in balance control. We highlight its potential for improving sensorimotor performance as well as cognitive and autonomic functions. These promising results demonstrate that stochastic resonance represents a flexible and non invasive technique that can be applied to different modalities simultaneously. Finally we point out its benefits for a variety of scenarios including in ambulant elderly, skilled movements, sports and to patients with sensorimotor or autonomic dysfunctions.

Keywords: falls, Uncertainity, motor control, Blood Pressure, vestibular system

Received: 27 Sep 2018; Accepted: 11 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Ovidiu C. Baltatu, Anhembi Morumbi University - Laureate International Universities, Brazil

Reviewed by:

Alessandro Giuliani, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy
Lianchun Yu, Lanzhou University, China
Aiguo Song, Southeast University, China  

Copyright: © 2018 White, Babic, Trenado, johanssen and Goswami. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Carlos Trenado, University of Dusseldorf Medical School, Düsseldorf, 81925, Germany, trenado@cdb-unit.de
Dr. Nandu Goswami, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria, nandu.goswami@medunigraz.at