Predicting the dynamic postural control response from quiet-stance behavior in elderly adults

Elizabeth T. Hsiao-Wecksler, Kunal Katdare, Jennifer Matson, Wen Liu, Lewis A. Lipsitz, James J. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human postural sway, as measured by fluctuations of the center of pressure (COP) under the feet of a quietly standing individual, can be characterized as a stochastic process. The fluctuation-dissipation theorem (FDT) provides a linear relationship between the fluctuations of a quasi-static, stochastic system to the same system's relaxation to equilibrium following a perturbation. We applied a similar linear relationship, based on the FDT, to the human postural control system to explore whether anterior-posterior (AP) fluctuations of the COP during quiet stance can be used to predict the AP response of the postural control system to a weak posteriorly directed mechanical perturbation (tug or pull at the waist). We tested 10 healthy elderly (mean age of 69yr) and 10 healthy young (mean age of 25yr) adult subjects. We found that this linear relationship was applicable to the postural control system of all 10 young and eight of the 10 elderly adult subjects. These results suggest that it is possible to predict an individual's dynamic response to a mild perturbation using quiet-stance data, regardless of age. The existence of this FDT-based linear relationship with respect to the human postural control system suggests that, for a given individual, the postural control system may use the same control mechanisms during quiet stance and mild-perturbation conditions, regardless of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1333
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Aging
  • Fluctuation-dissipation theorem
  • Perturbation
  • Postural control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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