Postural control in bipolar disorder: Increased sway area and decreased dynamical complexity

Amanda R. Bolbecker, S. Lee Hong, Jerillyn S. Kent, Mallory J. Klaunig, Brian F. O'Donnell, William P. Hetrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Structural, neurochemical, and functional abnormalities have been identified in the brains of individuals with bipolar disorder, including in key brain structures implicated in postural control, i.e. the cerebellum, brainstem, and basal ganglia. Given these findings, we tested the hypothesis that postural control deficits are present in individuals with bipolar disorder. Sixteen participants with bipolar disorder (BD) and 16 age-matched non-psychiatric healthy controls were asked to stand as still as possible on a force platform for 2 minutes under 4 conditions: (1) eyes open-open base; (2) eyes closed-open base; (3) eyes open-closed base; and (4) eyes closed-closed base. Postural sway data were submitted to conventional quantitative analyses of the magnitude of sway area using the center of pressure measurement. In addition, data were submitted to detrended fluctuation analysis, a nonlinear dynamical systems analytic technique that measures complexity of a time-series, on both the anterior-posterior and medio-lateral directions. The bipolar disorder group had increased sway area, indicative of reduced postural control. Decreased complexity in the medio-lateral direction was also observed for the bipolar disorder group, suggesting both a reduction in dynamic range available to them for postural control, and that their postural corrections were primarily dominated by longer time-scales. On both of these measures, significant interactions between diagnostic group and visual condition were also observed, suggesting that the BD participants were impaired in their ability to make corrections to their sway pattern when no visual information was available. Greater sway magnitude and reduced complexity suggest that individuals with bipolar disorder have deficits in sensorimotor integration and a reduced range of timescales available on which to make postural corrections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere19824
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Postural control in bipolar disorder: Increased sway area and decreased dynamical complexity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this