Characteristics of learning voluntary control of posture in lesions of the pyramidal and nigrostriatal systems

M. E. Ioffe, K. I. Ustinova, L. A. Chernikova, Yu A. Luk'yanova, I. A. Ivanova-Smolenskaya, M. A. Kulikov

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The aim of the study reported here was to investigate impairments on the learning of voluntary control of the center of pressures using visual feedback in patients with lesions of the corticospinal and nigrostriatal systems. Participants were 33 patients with Parkinson's disease and 20 patients with hemipareses due to circulatory lesions in the basin of the middle cerebral artery. Subjects stood on a stabilometric platform and used two computer games over 10 days to learn to shift the body relative to the foot to move the centre of pressures, indicated by the position of a cursor on the screen, with the target and to move the target to a specified part of the screen. The games differed in terms of the postural tasks. In one, the direction of movement of the center of pressures was not known to the subjects, and subjects learned a general strategy for posture control; the other formed a strictly defined postural coordination. Both groups of patients were found to have impairments of voluntary control of the position of the center of pressures. There were no differences between groups of patients, in terms of the severity of the initial performance deficit in the task involving shifts of the center of pressures in different directions (the general strategy for controlling the center of pressures), while learning of this task was more difficult for patients with Parkinson's disease. The initial deficit in the fine postural coordination task was more marked in patients with Parkinsonism, though learning in these patients was significantly better than in patients with hemipareses. It is suggested that the mechanisms of involvement of the nigrostriatal and corticospinal systems in learning the voluntary control of posture have elements in common as well as unique elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroscience and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Learning
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Post-stroke hemipareses
  • Postural control


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