Supervised learning of postural tasks in patients with poststroke hemiparesis, Parkinson's disease or cerebellar ataxia

M. E. Ioffe, K. I. Ustinova, L. A. Chernikova, M. A. Kulikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Supervised learning of different postural tasks in patients with lesions of the motor cortex or pyramidal system (poststroke hemiparesis: 20 patients), nigro-striatal system (Parkinson's disease: 33 patients) and cerebellum (spinocerebellar ataxia: 37 patients) was studied. A control group consisted of 13 healthy subjects. The subjects stood on a force platform and were trained to change the position of the center of pressure (CP) presented as a cursor on a monitor screen in front of the patient. Subjects were instructed to align the CP with the target and then move the target by shifting the CP in the indicated direction. Two different tasks were used. In "Balls", the target (a ball) position varied randomly, so the subject learned a general strategy of voluntary CP control. In "Bricks", the subject had to always move the target in a single direction (downward) from the top to the bottom of the screen, so that a precise postural coordination had to be learned. The training consisted of 10 sessions for each task. The number of correctly performed trials for a session (2 min for each task) was scored. The voluntary control of the CP position was initially impaired in all groups of patients in both tasks. In "Balls", there were no differences between the groups of the patients on the first day. The learning course was somewhat better in hemiparetic patients than in the other groups. In "Bricks", the initial deficit was greater in the groups of parkinsonian and cerebellar patients than in hemiparetic patients. However, learning was more efficient in parkinsonian than in hemiparetic and cerebellar patients. After 10 days of training, the hemiparetic and cerebellar patients completed the acquisition at a certain level whereas the parkinsonian patients showed the ability for further improvement. The results suggest that motor cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia are involved in voluntary control of posture and learning different postural tasks. However, these structures play different roles in postural control and learning: basal ganglia are mainly involved in learning a general strategy of CP control while the function of the motor cortex chiefly concerns learning a specific CP trajectory. The cerebellum is involved in both kinds of learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Basal ganglia
  • Cerebellum
  • Motor cortex
  • Supervised learning
  • Voluntary control of posture


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