Virtual Reality Applications in Assessing the Effect of Anxiety on Sensorimotor Integration in Human Postural Control

Christopher Widdowson1, Jatin Ganhotra2, Mohammed Faizal3, Marissa Wilko1, Saurin Parikh1, Zainulabidin Adhami4, Manuel Hernandez5

  • 1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • 3University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
  • 4MFPRL Research Laboratory
  • 5University of Illinois



Contributed Papers (Oral)


Neural and Rehabilitation Engineering


08:00 - 09:30 | Wed 17 Aug | Fantasia B | WeAT2

Postural and Balance


Falls are a leading cause of injury and mortality among adults over the age of 65 years. Given the strong relation between fear of falling and fall risk, identification of the mechanisms that underlie anxiety-related changes in postural control may pave the way to the development of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing fall risk in older adults. First, we review potential mechanisms underlying anxiety-mediated changes in postural control in older adults with and without neurological conditions. We then present a system that allows for the simultaneous recording of neural, physiological, and behavioral data in an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment while implementing sensory and mechanical perturbations to evaluate alterations in sensorimotor integration under conditions with high postural threat. We also discuss applications of VR in minimizing falls in older adults and potential future studies.

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