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Unilateral otolith centrifugation by head tilt

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Author: Winters, S.M. · Bos, J.E. · Klis, S.F.L.
Type:article
Date:2014
Publisher: IOS Press
Source:Journal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation, 1, 24, 9-15
Identifier: 507151
doi: doi:10.3233/VES-130508
Keywords: Otolith function test · Subjective vertical · Unilateral centrifugation · Healthy Living · Human Performances · PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences

Abstract

BACKGROUND: To test for otolith asymmetries, several studies described horizontal translation of the body and head en bloc during fast vertical axis rotation. This stimulus causes one otolithic organ to rotate on-axis, and the other to experience centripetal acceleration. OBJECTIVE: To test a new, more simple method of unilateral stimulation with head tilt and the body remaining on axis. METHODS: During stationary and during 360 deg/s rotation, 12 healthy blindfolded subjects had their heads tilted 30 degrees sideways, positioning one otolithic organ on the axis of rotation after the other. The haptic subjective vertical (SV) was recorded several times by means of a manually adjustable rod. RESULTS: It was found that during stationary the SV tilted about 4 degrees on average in the direction of the head. During rotation, the SV tilted about 9 degrees on average. We therefore estimate the effect of eccentric otolith rotation to be 5 degrees on average. CONCLUSIONS: Tilt of the subjective vertical induced by head tilt during on-axis body rotation can provide a relatively uncomplicated alternative to test unilateral otolithic function as compared to body and head translation during rotation. Moreover, unlike eccentric rotation of the entire body, somatosensory cues are minimized by keeping the body fixed on axis and by subtracting the effect of head tilt per se. © 2014 - IOS Press and the authors.