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See 1 citation in J Vestib Res 2017:

J Vestib Res. 2017;27(2-3):113-125. doi: 10.3233/VES-170613.

Mental body transformation deficits in patients with chronic balance disorders.

Author information

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.
Department of ORL, University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.
Health Sciences Teaching Centre Basel, Switzerland.



Movements may be generated consistent with imagining one's own body transformed or "disembodied" to a new position. Based on this concept we hypothesized that patients with objective balance deficits (obj-BD) would have altered neural transformation processes executing own body transformation (OBT) with functional consequences on balance control. Also we examined whether feeling unstable due to dizziness only (DO), without an obj-BD, also lead to an impaired OBT.


32 patients with chronic dizziness were tested: 16 patients with obj-BD as determined by balance control during a sequence of stance and gait tasks, 16 patients with dizziness only (DO). Patients and 9 healthy controls (HCs) were asked to replicate roll trunk movements of an instructor in a life size video: first, with spontaneously copied (SPO) or "embodied" egocentric movements (lean when the instructor leans); second, with "disembodied" or "transformed" movements (OBT) with exact replication - lean left when the instructor leans left. Onset latency of trunk roll, rise time to peak roll angle (interval), roll velocity, and amplitude were measured.


SPO movements were always mirror-imaged. OBT task latencies were significantly longer and intervals shorter than for SPO tasks (p < 0.03) for all groups. Obj-BD but not DO patients had more errors for the OBT task and, compared to HCs, had longer onset latencies (p < 0.05) and smaller velocities (p < 0.003) and amplitudes (p < 0.001) in both the SPO and OBT tasks. Measures of DO patients were not significantly different from those of HCs.


Mental transformation (OBT) and SPO copying abilities are impaired in subjects with obj-BD and dizziness, but not with dizziness only. We conclude that processing the neuropsychological representation of the human body (body schema) slows when balance control is deficient.


Own body transformation; balance control; body cognition; dizziness; vestibular deficits

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