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Sensory interactions in balance and eye movement control

Bronstein, Adolfo Miguel; (1990) Sensory interactions in balance and eye movement control. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Eye and head movements were recorded during angular/linear motion of the head or neck. Four areas of sensory-motor interaction in human balance control were studied. In the cervico-vestibular section, eye movements elicited by neck torsion were shown to be weak in normal subjects but considerably enhanced in labyrinthine defective patients, in whom they may partly compensate for the lack of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. In the vestibulo-cervical section, experiments showed a diminished ability of patients with absent vestibular function to stabilize the head in space during trunk motion. Other experiments found vestibular abnormalities in patients with cervical dystonia (Spasmodic Torticollis) which could not be explained by the abnormal head posture per se; it was concluded that the vestibular system contributes to human head posture and that the hitherto unexplained neural processes provoking Spasmodic Torticollis interfere with vestibular signals. Under the otolith-canal interaction section, experiments showed that slow phase eye movements of high velocity can be elicited in response to combined angular-linear acceleration, obtained by placing the head eccentrically in an ordinary "Barany" rotating chair. The possibility that the procedure could become a clinically useful test of otolith function was preliminary studied in oto-neurological patients. The section on otolith-visual interaction examines slow phase eye movements in response to lateral linear acceleration of the head. In the presence of visual fixation these responses are strong and compensate for head motion at very short latency, allowing the eyes to maintain fixation on stationary objects. In the dark responses are weak and inappropriate for visual stabilization. The experiments combining angular acceleration or visual stimulation with linear acceleration suggest that/ in order to generate functionally meaningful eye movements, otolith-ocular responses are highly dependent on interaction with other sensory stimuli. This thesis is supported by a series of published papers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sensory interactions in balance and eye movement control
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Health and environmental sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123746
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