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The vestibular system provides information about head movement and mediates reflexes that contribute to balance control and gaze stabilization during daily activities. Vestibular sensors are located in the inner ear on both sides of the head and project to the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem. Vestibular dysfunction is often due to an asymmetry between input from the two sides. This results in asymmetrical neural inputs from the two ears, which can produce an illusion of rotation, manifested as vertigo. The vestibular system has an impressive capacity for compensation, which serves to rebalance how asymmetrical information from the sensory end organs on both sides is processed at the central level. To promote compensation, various rehabilitation programs are used in the clinic; however, they primarily use exercises that improve multisensory integration. Recently, visual-vestibular training has also been used to improve the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) in animals with compensated unilateral lesions. Here, a new method is introduced for rebalancing the vestibular activity on both sides in human subjects. This method consists of five unidirectional rotations in the dark (peak velocity of 320°/s) toward the weaker side. The efficacy of this method was shown in a sequential, double-blinded clinical trial in 16 patients with VOR asymmetry (measured by the directional preponderance in response to sinusoidal rotations). In most cases, VOR asymmetry decreased after a single session, reached normal values within the first two sessions in one week, and the effects lasted up to 6 weeks. The rebalancing effect is due to both an increase in VOR response from the weaker side and a decrease in response from the stronger side. The findings suggest that unidirectional rotation can be used as a supervised rehabilitation method to reduce VOR asymmetry in patients with longstanding vestibular dysfunction.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
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Pathological processes of the VESTIBULAR LABYRINTH which contains part of the balancing apparatus. Patients with vestibular diseases show instability and are at risk of frequent falls.
The vestibular part of the 8th cranial nerve (VESTIBULOCOCHLEAR NERVE). The vestibular nerve fibers arise from neurons of Scarpa's ganglion and project peripherally to vestibular hair cells and centrally to the VESTIBULAR NUCLEI of the BRAIN STEM. These fibers mediate the sense of balance and head position.
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The hearing and equilibrium system of the body. It consists of three parts: the EXTERNAL EAR, the MIDDLE EAR, and the INNER EAR. Sound waves are transmitted through this organ where vibration is transduced to nerve signals that pass through the ACOUSTIC NERVE to the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. The inner ear also contains the vestibular organ that maintains equilibrium by transducing signals to the VESTIBULAR NERVE.
Congenital or acquired asymmetry of the face.
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