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J Appl Oral Sci. 2008 Nov-Dec;16(6):391-6.

Electromyographic activity of sternocleidomastoid and masticatory muscles in patients with vestibular lesions.

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Functional Anatomy Research Center (FARC), Department of Human Morphology, School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano, Milano, Italy.


This study evaluated the electromyographic characteristics of masticatory and neck muscles in subjects with vestibular lesions. Surface electromyography of the masseter, temporalis and sternocleidomastoid muscles was performed in 19 patients with Ménière's disease, 12 patients with an acute peripheral vestibular lesion, and 19 control subjects matched for sex and age. During maximum voluntary clenching, patients with peripheral vestibular lesions had the highest co-contraction of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (analysis of covariance, p=0.02), the control subjects had the smallest values, and the patients with Ménière's disease had intermediate values. The control subjects had larger standardized muscle activities than the other patient groups (p=0.001). In conclusion, during maximum voluntary tooth clenching, patients with vestibular alterations have both more active neck muscles, and less active masticatory muscles than normal controls. Results underline the importance of a more inclusive craniocervical assessment of patients with vestibular lesions.

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