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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 May;1164:268-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2008.03731.x.

Tell me your vestibular deficit, and i'll tell you how you'll compensate.

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Aix-Marseille Université, UMR 6149 Université de Provence/CNRS, Marseille Cedex 03, France.


Most patients with unilateral vestibular loss exhibit a similar static and dynamic vestibular syndrome consisting of vestibulo-ocular, posturolocomotor, and perceptive deficits. This vestibular syndrome recovers more or less completely and more or less rapidly over time. One open question is whether recovery mechanisms differ according to vestibular pathology and/or patients. It is reported here (1) data from three different cat models of unilateral vestibular loss reproducing vestibular pathology with sudden (unilateral vestibular neurectomy [UVN] model), gradual (unilateral labyrinthectomy [UL] model), or reversible (tetrodotoxine [TTX]) model) loss of vestibular function, and (2) clinical observations in a population of unilateral vestibular loss patients suffering the same pathology (Menière's disease). Animal models show that time courses and mechanisms of recovery depend on the type of vestibular deafferentation, and clinical findings show that Menière's patients compensate their postural and perceptive deficits using different vicarious processes. Taken together, results point to a more complex picture of compensation after unilateral vestibular loss, which cannot be reduced either to a common recovery mechanism or to a single process identical for all individuals. These findings should guide physiotherapists in treatment and rehabilitation for vestibular deficits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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