Assessment of Biomechanical Predictors of Occurrence of Low-Amplitude N1 Potentials Evoked by Naturally Occurring Postural Instabilities

Rahul Goel, Sho Nakagome, William H. Paloski, Jose L. Contreras-Vidal, Pranav J. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Naturally occurring postural instabilities that occur while standing and walking elicit specific cortical responses in the fronto-central regions (N1 potentials) followed by corrective balance responses to prevent falling. However, no framework could simultaneously track different biomechanical parameters preceding N1s, predict N1s, and assess their predictive power. Here, we propose a framework and show its utility by examining cortical activity (through electroencephalography [EEG]), ground reaction forces, and head acceleration in the anterior-posterior (AP) direction. Ten healthy young adults carried out a balance task of standing on a support surface with or without sway referencing in the AP direction, amplifying, or dampening natural body sway. Using independent components from the fronto-central cortical region obtained from subject-specific head models, we first robustly validated a prior approach on identifying low-amplitude N1 potentials before early signs of balance corrections. Then, a machine learning algorithm was used to evaluate different biomechanical parameters obtained before N1 potentials, to predict the occurrence of N1s. When different biomechanical parameters were directly compared, the time to boundary (TTB) was found to be the best predictor of the occurrence of upcoming low-amplitude N1 potentials during a balance task. Based on these findings, we confirm that the spatio-temporal characteristics of the center of pressure (COP) might serve as an essential parameter that can facilitate the early detection of postural instability in a balance task. Extending our framework to identify such biomarkers in dynamic situations like walking might improve the implementation of corrective balance responses through brain-machine-interfaces to reduce falls in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
StatePublished - 2022


  • Center of pressure velocity
  • N1 potential
  • fronto-central negativity
  • naturally occurring postural instability
  • time to boundary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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