Principles of Biodynamics. Volume III. Physiological Mechanisms in the Mammal Underlying Posture, Locomotion, and Orientation in Space.
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This review describes those physiological mechanisms in the peripheral and central nervous system which underlie posture, locomotion, and orientation in space. Particular emphasis is given to the input-output relationships and integration of the central nervous mechanisms. The mechanisms discussed involve many structures of the nervous system and are both gravity and nongravity dependent. The otolith organ of the vestibular labyrinth is probably the only specific gravity sensor in the vertebrate. However, gravity has a further direct effect in maintaining posture and orientation by exerting a force which results in slight stretch of the muscles of the limbs, head, and neck and thereby gives rise to reflex contractions which help maintain the body in its normal relationship in space. Nongravity-dependent mechanisms, especially those involving the semicircular canals, oculomotor system, and visual system, are also of the utmost importance in supplementing the gravity-dependent mechanisms during all aspects of orientation.
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