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Brain Struct Funct. 2013 Jan;218(1):255-67. doi: 10.1007/s00429-012-0399-0. Epub 2012 Feb 25.

On the recall of vestibular sensations.

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Department of Neurology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.


Functional neuroimaging studies on the recall or imagination of a distinctive task in the motor network or of sensations in sensory systems (visual, acoustic, nociceptive, gustatory, and olfactory) demonstrated that the respective primary cortex is often involved in the mental imagery process. Our aim was to examine this phenomenon in the vestibular system using fMRI. Sixteen healthy subjects were asked to remember the feeling of a rotatory chair procedure in contrast to an identical situation at rest. Shortly afterwards they were asked to recall the vestibular experience in a 1.5-T scanner. The resulting activations were then compared with the responses of a galvanic vestibular control experiment and a rest condition. The vestibular recall showed significant bihemispheric activations in the inferior frontal gyri, the anterior operculum, the middle cingulate, the putamen, the globus pallidus, the premotor motor cortex, and the anterior insula. We found activations in regions known to play a role in spatial referencing, motor programs, and attention in the recall of vestibular sensations. But important known relay stations for the cortical processing of vestibular information showed neither relevant activations nor deactivations.

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