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How Balance maintained?

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Nature has given us certain sensors which are spread in different parts of the body. These sensors pick up the information and constantly inform the brain about the stability of the ground and the surroundings via afferent neural pathway.

The information coming from the eyes, skin, muscle and joints is integrated with the information coming from the inner ears and processed in the brain.  Central processing of information in the brain is essential for balance.

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—> In response the brain evolves a motor output via efferent nerves– thereby creating a precise and timed contraction of different body muscles to restore the stability.

—> Resulting in movement of head and neck, legs, eyes and rest of the body to maintain the balance and have clear vision while person is moving
Thus Maintenance of balance is a reflex action with the involvement of a sensory organ, an afferent neural pathway, a center of the reflex in the brain stem, an efferent neural pathway and an effector motor organ.

proprioceptors
 
Afferent sensory organs
  • Eyes – Inform brain about our position and movement.
  • Proprioceptors–Skin, muscles and joints inform the positions of our arms, legs, and other parts of body.
  • Inner Ear Vestibular organs –Movement & position of head

Center of the reflex -

Situated in the brain-stem where 4 vestibular nuclei are present

Efferent neural pathway -

Neural tracts in the brain and spinal cord and peripheral nerves

Effector motor organ -

Different muscles of the body

Skeletal Muscles of the limb, trunk and neck (Vestibulo-spinal pathway)—vestibulospinal reflex —

Small Muscles of the eye Vestibulo ocular reflex pathway
Hence in order to have a properly working balance system we basically need
Role of Ear

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