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Acta Otolaryngol. 2013 Mar;133(3):246-52. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2012.740163. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Effects of repeated optic flow stimulation on gait termination in humans.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.



Because the basic strategies to stop walking are stored as motor programs, visual stimulation may have little influence on body deviation during gait termination and its time course. Walking velocity, however, demonstrated dynamic flexible changes, which may subserve the stable process of gait termination under variable circumstantial changes such as optic flow.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of repeated optic flow on body deviation and walking velocity during gait termination, which may be more complicated than continuous standing or walking.


Twenty-three healthy subjects were instructed to start walking upon an acoustic cue and to stop walking when the scenery changed in a virtual reality environment. Subjects underwent eight control trials without optic flow and three sets of optic flow conditions including four trials each of optic horizontal and rotational movement randomly.


Repeated optic flow caused no significant change of body deviation or the time course of the gait termination process in comparison with that in the control. The walking velocity at the start of the termination process showed short-term flexibility that denoted a gradual increase over the trial for within-set and long-term flexibility that denoted a gradual decrease for between-set.

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