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      Galvanic vestibular stimulation evokes sensations of body rotation :

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          Most cited references 13

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          Relation between discharge regularity and responses to externally applied galvanic currents in vestibular nerve afferents of the squirrel monkey.

          Most vestibular nerve afferents can be classified as regularly or irregularly discharging. Two factors are theoretically identified as being potentially responsible for differences in discharge regularity. The first, ascribable to synaptic noise, is the variance (sigma v2) characterizing the transmembrane voltage fluctuations of the axon's spike trigger site, i.e., the place where impulses normally arise. The second factor is the slope (dmuv/dt) of the trigger site's postspike recovery function. Were (dmuv/dt) a major determinant of discharge regularity, the theory predicts that the more irregular the discharge of a unit, the greater should be its sensitivity to externally applied galvanic currents and the faster should be the postspike recovery of its electrical excitability. The predictions would not hold if differences in the discharge regularity between units largely reflected variations in sigma v. To test these predictions, the responses of vestibular nerve afferents to externally applied galvanic currents were studied in the barbiturate-anesthetized squirrel monkey. Current steps of 5-s duration and short (50 microsecond) shocks were delivered by way of the perilymphatic space of the vestibule. Results were similar regardless of which end organ an afferent innervated. The regularity of discharge of each unit was expressed by a normalized coefficient of variation (CV*). The galvanic sensitivity (beta p) of a unit, measured from its response to current steps, was linearly related to discharge regularity (CV*), there being approximately 20-fold variations in both variables across the afferent population. Various geometric factors--including fiber diameter, position of individual axons within the various nerve branches, and the configuration of unmyelinated processes within the sensory epithelium--are unlikely to have made a major contribution to the positive relation between beta P and CV*. The postspike recovery of electrical excitability was measured as response thresholds to shocks, synchronized to follow naturally occurring impulses at several different delays. Recovery in irregular units was more rapid than in regular units. Evidence is presented that externally applied currents acted at the spike trigger site rather than elsewhere in the sensory transduction process. We argue that the irregular discharge of some vestibular afferents offers no functional advantage in the encoding and transmission of sensory information. Rather, the irregularity of discharge is better viewed as a consequence of the enhanced sensitivity of these units to depolarizing influences, including afferent and efferent synaptic inputs.
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            Proprioceptive, visual and vestibular thresholds for the perception of sway during standing in humans.

            1. Thresholds for the perception of postural sway induced by gentle perturbations were determined for five normal standing subjects. In this context we understand 'perception' to mean 'able to give a subjective report'. The thresholds for the perception of movements that were equivalent to sway in velocity and amplitude were determined when the available sensory input was limited to only one, or a pair, of the vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive systems. To examine vestibular inputs alone, vision was excluded and the whole body was moved with the ankles in a fixed position. To examine visual inputs alone, the body was kept stationary and a 'room' was moved around the subjects to simulate the relative visual-field movement that occurs during standing. To limit the available sensory input to proprioception from the legs, subjects were held stationary and balanced a load that was equivalent to their own body using their ankles. In this situation, perturbations were applied to the 'equivalent body' and these could only be perceived from the resulting ankle movements. Thresholds for perceiving ankle movements were also determined in the same posture, but with the leg muscles bearing no load. 2. The thresholds for the perception of sway during standing were very small, typically 0.003 rad at a velocity of 0.001 rad s-1, and even smaller movements were perceived as the mean velocity of the sway increased up to 0.003 rad s-1. No difference was found between the thresholds for perceiving forward sway and backward sway. Eye closure during standing did not affect the threshold for perceiving sway. 3. When sensory input was limited to proprioception from the legs, the thresholds for the perception of passive ankle movements were equivalent to the thresholds for the perception of sway during standing with all sensory inputs available. When the leg muscles were relaxed, the thresholds for perceiving ankle movements increased approximately twofold. 4. The visual thresholds for perceiving movement were higher than the proprioceptive thresholds at slower velocities of movement, but there was no difference at higher velocities. 5. Both the proprioceptive and visual thresholds were sufficiently small to allow perception of the sway that was recorded when the subjects stood normally in a relaxed manner. In contrast, the vestibular thresholds were an order of magnitude greater than the visual or proprioceptive thresholds and above the largest sway movements that were recorded during normal standing.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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              Human body-segment tilts induced by galvanic stimulation: a vestibularly driven balance protection mechanism.

              1. We have studied the effects of changes in posture on the motor response to galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). The purpose of the experiments was to investigate whether the function of the GVS-evoked response is to stabilize the body or the head in space. Subjects faced forwards with eyes closed standing with various stance widths and sitting. In all cases the GVS-evoked response consisted of a sway of the body towards the anodal ear. 2. In the first set of experiments the response was measured from changes in (i) electromyographic activity of hip and ankle muscles, (ii) the lateral ground reaction force, and (iii) lateral motion of the body at the level of the neck (C7). For all measurements the response became smaller as the feet were placed further apart. 3. In the second set of experiments we measured the GVS-evoked tilts of the head, torso and pelvis. The basic response consisted of a tilt in space (anodal ear down) of all three segments. The head tilted more than the trunk and the trunk tilted more than the pelvis producing a leaning and bending of the body towards the anodal ear. This change in posture was sustained for the duration of the stimulus. 4. The tilt of all three segments was reduced by increasing the stance width. This was due to a reduction in evoked tilt of the pelvis, the bending of the upper body remaining relatively unchanged. Changing from a standing to a sitting posture produced additional reductions in tilt by reducing the degree of upper body bending. 5. The results indicate that the response is organized to stabilize the body rather than the head in space. We suggest that GVS produces a vestibular input akin to that experienced on an inclined support surface and that the function of the response is to counter any threat to balance by keeping the centre of mass of the body within safe limits.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeuroReport
                NeuroReport
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                0959-4965
                2002
                December 2002
                : 13
                : 18
                : 2379-2383
                Article
                10.1097/00001756-200212200-00001
                © 2002

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