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Anat Rec B New Anat. 2004 Sep;280(1):15-9.

Perspective on the vestibular cortex throughout history.

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  • 1Program of Medicine, Department of Basic Sciences, University of Caldas, Colombia.


The human vestibular organ transmits sensory information to various components of the central nervous system related to head movement and, obviously, among these components, to its terminal region(s) in the vestibular parts of the cerebral cortex. Study of vestibular structures dates back to historical epochs when primitive considerations on cerebral global function were made without knowledge of a cerebral cortical region related to vestibular function. At the time of Menière in the 19th century, patients with vertigo were defined as having cerebral congestion. Cerebral mapping and computational anatomy in the 20th century significantly expanded our knowledge of cerebral structure and its function and the concept of cerebral processing of a variety of types of information, including that generated by the vestibular system. These modern techniques include nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography. These techniques have allowed researchers to define the cortical representation of the vestibular system in human beings and in other species, a representation generally assumed to be located in various cerebral temporal and parietal regions. Although vestibular activation has been recorded in frontal lobe regions, the main vestibular cortical zone has been defined as being located in the parietal lobe; others have recognized a vestibular cortical function in the insula.

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