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J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2010 Sep;11(3):367-81. doi: 10.1007/s10162-010-0208-5. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Vestibulo-ocular reflex responses to a multichannel vestibular prosthesis incorporating a 3D coordinate transformation for correction of misalignment.

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Vestibular NeuroEngineering Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


There is no effective treatment available for individuals unable to compensate for bilateral profound loss of vestibular sensation, which causes chronic disequilibrium and blurs vision by disrupting vestibulo-ocular reflexes that normally stabilize the eyes during head movement. Previous work suggests that a multichannel vestibular prosthesis can emulate normal semicircular canals by electrically stimulating vestibular nerve branches to encode head movements detected by mutually orthogonal gyroscopes affixed to the skull. Until now, that approach has been limited by current spread resulting in distortion of the vestibular nerve activation pattern and consequent inability to accurately encode head movements throughout the full 3-dimensional (3D) range normally transduced by the labyrinths. We report that the electrically evoked 3D angular vestibulo-ocular reflex exhibits vector superposition and linearity to a sufficient degree that a multichannel vestibular prosthesis incorporating a precompensatory 3D coordinate transformation to correct misalignment can accurately emulate semicircular canals for head rotations throughout the range of 3D axes normally transduced by a healthy labyrinth.

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