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Marius Dettmer wins Bertec Balance Research Competition

Bertec Corporation has announced Marius Dettmer as one of the winners of the first Bertec Balance Research Competition. The fourteen winners have been awarded a one-year loan of balance equipment to complete novel research. Scroll down for details on the competition and a brief synopsis of Marius Dettmer's research proposal.

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Press Release from Bertec Corporation:

Bertec Corporation Recognizes Young Researchers With Award of Equipment

Columbus, Ohio, February 12, 2008 - Fourteen young researchers throughout the country have been awarded a yearlong loan of Bertec Corporation’s balance assessment and training systems to complete original, academic research. The winners were selected based on strong proposals outlining novel projects, as judged by an external review board.

This is the first year of the Bertec Balance Research Competition. It was originated to help advance the understanding of the human body, while driving the careers of young researchers. The goal of the competition is to make cutting edge technology available to students and young professors who do not normally have access to this equipment, while allowing them to carry out a project that they are truly interested in.

Bertec Corporation is a leading manufacturer of force measurement devices, commonly used in academic research and clinical practice. The balance plates that were awarded as part of the equipment loan use strain gauge technology to measure the center of pressure of the individual standing upon the plate. This allows for determination of how much an individual is swaying under 
varying conditions, with postural instability being linked to balance problems and fall risk.

Click for more details on the research competition (new window)

Details of Marius Dettmer's research proposal:

Influence of different proprioceptive conditions on anticipatory postural adjustments in healthy subjects.

On the first glance, upright stance seems to be the simplest motor task we can imagine. But if we look deeper, we find numerous neurophysiologic processes that ensure that we do not lose balance. These processes are highly reliant on sensory feedback from different sources, like the visual system, the vestibular system, skin- and muscle sensors.

In addition to this, there are also feed-forward strategies related to upright stance: In advance to voluntary movement, there are preparatory activities, so called “Anticipatory postural adjustments” (APA). Muscle activity and body orientation are being altered prior to the actual onset of movement, to diminish body sway and instability of stance.

Understanding the underlying mechanisms of this regulation is an important step towards comprehending how humans are able to cope with anticipated perturbances of balance. Moreover, we want to investigate how people with sensory deficits are able to learn how to regulate APAs without the availability of certain sensory information. We will investigate the role of one sensory system, the muscle sensors, by stimulating them with small muscle tendon vibrators.