ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate neuronal mechanisms active during the percep-tion of forward postural limits in a standing po-sition and to specify fall-related brain activity using optical functional near-infrared spectros-copy. The study group included six right-handed, healthy female volunteers (range: 19, 20 years). The optical imaging device comprised 16 opto-des designed to provide 24-channel recording of changes in hemoglobin oxygenation. We meas-ured the changes of oxygenated hemoglobin levels in the frontal region when subjects per-ceived reachability in a standing position. Com- pared with those in other regions, the oxygen-ated hemoglobin levels in the right frontal region compatible with the right prefrontal cortex sig-nificantly increased. This result suggests that brain activities in the right prefrontal cortex are related to perception of reachability. Overesti-mation of postural limits has been reported as one of the risk factor for falling. This overesti-mation might be induced by dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex, resulting in a failure to inhibit a motor program that would have caused a loss of balance in reaching. Activation of the right prefrontal cortex may be a key factor for pre-venting accidental falls in the elderly and in pa-tients with neurological disorders.
Cite this paper
nullKamata, N. , Matsuo, Y. , Matsuya, A. , Inoue, S. and Abe, K. (2009) Right prefrontal cortex is activated for perceiving postural limits: a functional near-infrared spectroscopy study. Health, 1, 239-243. doi: 10.4236/health.2009.13039.
 C. Carello, A. Grosofsky, F. D. Reichel, H. Y. Solomon, M. T. Turvey, (1989) Visually perceiving what is reachable. Ecological Psychology, 1, 27-54.
S. N. Robinovitch, (1998) Perception of postural limits during reaching. J Mot Behav, 30(4), 352-358.
S. N. Robinovitch, T. Cronin, (1999) Perception of pos-tural limits in elderly nursing home and day care partici-pants. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 54(3), B124-130; discussion B31.
C. Gabbard, A. Cordova, S. Lee, (2007) Examining the effects of postural constraints on estimating reach. J Mot Behav, 39(4), 242-246.
N. Kamata, Y. Matsuo, T. Yoneda, H. Shinohara, S. Inoue, K. Abe, (2007) Overestimation of stability limits leads to a high frequency of falls in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Clin Rehabil, 21(4), 357-361.
Y. Okada, K. Takatori, K. Ikuno, K. Tsuruta, K. Tokuhisa, K. Nagino, et al., (2008) Perception of postural limits and falls in community-dwelling elderly people. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 7(1), 73-80.
I. Miyai, H. C. Tanabe, I. Sase, H. Eda, I. Oda, I. Konishi, et al., (2001) Cortical mapping of gait in humans: A near-in- frared spectroscopic topography study. Neuroi-mage, 14(5), 1186-1192.
M. Suzuki, I. Miyai, T. Ono, K. Kubota, (2008) Activities in the frontal cortex and gait performance are modulated by preparation: An fNIRS study. Neuroimage, 39(2), 600-607.
M. Mihara, I. Miyai, M. Hatakenaka, K. Kubota, S. Sa-koda, (2008) Role of the prefrontal cortex in human bal-ance control. Neuroimage, 43(2), 329-336.
P. W. Duncan, S. Studenski, J. Chandler, B. Prescott, (1992) Functional reach: Predictive validity in a sample of elderly male veterans. J Gerontol, 47(3), M93-98.
Y. Hoshi, N. Kobayashi, M. Tamura, (2001) Interpretation of near-infrared spectroscopy signals: A study with a newly developed perfused rat brain model. J Appl Physiol 90(5), 1657-1662.
Y. Otsuka, E. Nakato, S. Kanazawa, M. K. Yamaguchi, S. Watanabe, R. Kakigi, (2007) Neural activation to upright and inverted faces in infants measured by near-infrared spectroscopy. Neuroimage, 34(1), 399-406.
M. L. Schroeter, S. Zysset, F. Kruggel, D. Y. von Cramon, (2003) Age dependency of the hemodynamic response as measured by functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Neuroimage, 19(3), 555-564.
M. H. Fischer, (2003) Can we correctly perceive the reaching range of others? Br J Psychol, 94(Pt 4), 487-500.
M. H. Fischer, (2005) Perceived reachability: The roles of handedness and hemifield. Exp Brain Res, 160(3), 283- 289.
C. Lamm, M. H. Fischer, J. Decety, C. Lamm, (2007) Predicting the actions of others taps into one’s own somatosensory representations—a functional MRI study. Neuropsychologia, 45(11), 2480-2491.
P. E. Roland, B. Larsen, N. A. Lassen, E. Skinhoj, (1980) Supplementary motor area and other cortical areas in or-ganization of voluntary movements in man. J Neuro-physiol, 43(1), 118-136.
C. A. Porro, M. P. Francescato, V. Cettolo, M. E. Diamond, P. Baraldi, C. Zuiani, et al., (1996) Primary motor and sensory cortex activation during motor performance and motor imagery: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Neurosci, 16(23), 7688-7698.
T. Shallice, (1982) Specific impairments of planning. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 298(1089), 199-209.
R. Kawashima, K. Satoh, H. Itoh, S. Ono, S. Furumoto, R. Gotoh, et al., (1996) Functional anatomy of GO/NO-GO discrimination and response selection—a PET study in man. Brain Res, 728(1), 79-89.
T. Liu-Ambrose, Y. Ahamed, P. Graf , F. Feldman, S. N. Robinovitch, (2008) Older fallers with poor working memory overestimate their postural limits. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 89(7), 1335-1340.
M. D’Esposito, J. A. Detre, D. C. Alsop, R. K. Shin, S. Atlas, M. Grossman, (1995) The neural basis of the central executive system of working memory. Nature, 378(6554), 279-81.