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Balance and ADHD

What has already been reported is that balance function is worse in ADHD children than in their normal peers. The studied reviewed here (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28238393) was designed to asses the effects of balance exercises on the cognitive performance of children with both ADHD and vestibular impairment.

33 children suffering from severe vestibular impairment were randomly assigned to two groups that were matched for age. Some of the children concerned performed balance, gait and eye movement exercises. The other group of children did not. It was twice a week, for 12 weeks that the chosen children performed the selected exercises.

Specific cognitive tests such as choice reaction time (CRT) and spatial working memory (SWM) were utilized to test for cognitive abilities for both groups.

As far as the CRT test goes, the children who performed the exercises performed significantly better than the children that did not.

Generally speaking, this study illustrates that vestibular rehabilitation can improve cognition.

When looking at the brain pathways involved, it can make sense to think that when the body is lacking balance, it can be harder to recruit brain areas specialized in tasks that relate to cognition. In essence, the body’s number one concern is survival. To secure body stability is primary.

Of Stress and Balance

Could it be that if you weren’t so keen on cartwheels as a kid, you could have a propensity to be feeling stressed out as an adult? It could be difficult to stipulate this for sure but there are some interesting links between our balance (vestibular) system and the stress response.

To start off, there is evidence from animal studies indicates that vestibular symptoms are effective in activating the stress response, and that the acute stress response is important in promoting changes in how both the vestibular system and the cerebellum function as a unit.

In the context of vestibular lesions, for example, evidence from animal studies has demonstrated neural pathways linking the vestibular nuclei with the limbic system including the hypothalamus and that stress responses evoked by vestibular symptoms promote synaptic and neuronal plasticity in the vestibular system.

Dagilas et al. (2005) investigated the stress response evoked by vestibular stimulation in healthy volunteers by measuring serum cortisol levels at the point of maximal nystagmus while undergoing caloric stimulation (vestibular stimulation). Cortisol levels were actually found to be significantly elevated above resting levels.

In a preceding detailed study, Kohl demonstrated that cross-angular rotatory vestibular stimulation potently stimulated ACTH, noradrenaline, and adrenaline secretion, in a pattern consistent with a vestibular-evoked stress response.

Human imaging and behavioral studies suggest the hippocampus may be an important center for vestibular compensation. Increased physical activity has been shown in animals to affect brain morphology by promoting neurogenesis of the hippocampus and vestibular exercises and the promotion of physical activity in general may have similar effects in humans.

There are a few neuroanatomical reasons why these realities can be observed. In particular, the nucleus tractus solitarii have extensive relationships with the vestibular nuclei both via direct projections and indirectly through the parabrachial nucleus, which provides a major input into the limbic system.

Balance is an interesting concept to begin with and it only gets better when you read the word and see all of its meanings. It can be even more exciting to actually have a profound effect on how an individual gains balance in order to improve their quality of life. That’s what the combination of Posturology and Functional Neurology is all about!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3406321/

Of eyes and stability

It is a known fact: vision, proprioception and plantar sensitivity contribute to postural control. We recognize that there is a veritable axis between the eyes and the feet (Roll, 1987). Read more

Balance and bone health?

If one is looking to make links between the various physiological systems, we can remain surprised! We recognize some basic roles of the vestibular system:

  • Equilibrium and orientation in space.
  • Control of blood pressure as it relates to the postural context.

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Balance, cognition and memory

If we have forever considered that the vestibular system was the one that created balance in an unbalanced state, when looking at recent literature, one can consider that this primitive balance system is a component of much refined human functions. Read more

The cerebellum: why?

If the cerebral cortex is the brain region that best differentiates us from other species, the cerebellum is the part that is found behind the brain and it is responsible for many important functions: 

– Coordination of movement: the cerebellum coordinates muscular activity so that the body can move fluidly.
– Balance: it receives data from the inner ear, which allows the cerebellum to contribute to keeping you upright. 
– Vision: the cerebellum allows for coordination of ocular movements.
– Motor learning: the cerebellum helps in learning tasks such as riding a bike.
– Language and humor: we don’t know how precisely the cerebellum is involved her but we do know it is. 
Read more