An Engineering Model to Test for Sensory Reweighting in Non-Human Primate Posture

[+] Author and Article Information
Lara A. Thompson

Biomedical Engineering Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008;Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Csilla Haburcakova

Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston MA 02139

Adam D. Goodworth

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT 06117

Richard F. Lewis

Departments of Otology & Laryngology and Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02139;Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02139

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038157 History: Received December 21, 2016; Revised September 14, 2017


Quantitative animal models are critically needed to provide proof-of-concept for the investigation of rehabilitative balance therapies (e.g., invasive vestibular prostheses) and treatment response prior to, or in conjunction with, human clinical trials. This paper describes a novel approach to modeling the non-human primate postural control system. Our observation that rhesus macaques and humans have even remotely similar postural control motivates the further application of the rhesus macaque as a model for studying the effects of vestibular dysfunction, as well as vestibular prosthesis-assisted states, on human postural control. Previously, system identification methodologies and models were only used to describe human posture. However, here we utilized pseudorandom, roll-tilt balance platform stimuli to perturb the posture of a rhesus monkey in normal and mild vestibular (equilibrium) loss states. The relationship between rhesus monkey trunk sway and platform roll-tilt were determined via stimulus-response curves and transfer function results. A feedback controller model was then used to explore sensory reweighting (i.e., changes in sensory reliance) which prevented the animal from falling off of the tilting platform. Conclusions involving sensory reweighting in the non-human primate for a normal sensory state and a state of mild vestibular loss led to meaningful insights. This first-phase effort to model the balance control system in non-human primates is essential for future investigations towards the effects of invasive rehabilitative (balance) technologies on postural control in primates, and ultimately, humans.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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