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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Dec;104(6):1031-7. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0859-7. Epub 2008 Aug 30.

Vestibulo-ocular reflex and motion sickness in figure skaters.

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UPRES-EA 3917 Mobilités: Cognition et Temporalité, Faculté de médecine, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, 14032 Caen Cedex, France.


In order to determine the effect of figure skating on the functional plasticity of the vestibular system, we quantified vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and motion sickness (MS) intensity in 11 female figure skaters and 11 matched control subjects. Vestibular stimulation consisted of three cycles of sinusoidal rotation (0.025 Hz, +/-60 degrees /s) and two velocity steps of 60 degrees /s (acceleration 60 degrees /s(2)). Nauseogenic stimulation consisted of a constant velocity (60 degrees /s) off vertical axis rotation (OVAR) using a 15 degrees tilt angle. Subjective sickness symptoms were rated immediately after OVAR with the Pensacola diagnostic index. During sinusoidal stimulations, the skaters' VOR, as compared with that of the controls, demonstrates a gain that is 27% lower (0.44 +/- 0.12 vs. 0.58 +/- 0.10; P < 0.01) and a phase advance (10 +/- 12 degrees vs. -0.3 +/- 6.4 degrees ; P < 0.05). During velocity steps, the VOR gain is 32% lower among the skaters (0.52 +/- 0.14 vs. 0.71 +/- 0.12; P < 0.01), but there is no difference in time constant (10.8 +/- 1.8 s vs. 10.5 +/- 2.7 s; P = 0.78). Nauseogenic stimulation evokes significantly less MS in figure skaters than in control subjects (2.8 +/- 2.8 vs. 16.2 +/- 13.7; P < 0.01). Quantitative alterations in VOR parameters observed in figure skaters probably result from vestibular habituation induced by repeated unusual stimulations when practicing figure skating.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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