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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2013 Jun;60(6):1685-92. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2013.2241433. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

An experimental vestibular neural prosthesis: design and preliminary results with rhesus monkeys stimulated with modulated pulses.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Department of Electrical Engineering, and Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


A vestibular neural prosthesis was designed on the basis of a cochlear implant for treatment of Meniere's disease and other vestibular disorders. Computer control software was developed to generate patterned pulse stimuli for exploring optimal parameters to activate the vestibular nerve. Two rhesus monkeys were implanted with the prototype vestibular prosthesis and they were behaviorally evaluated post implantation surgery. Horizontal and vertical eye movement responses to patterned electrical pulse stimulations were collected on both monkeys. Pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) and pulse rate modulated (PRM) trains were applied to the lateral canal of each implanted animal. Robust slow-phase nystagmus responses following the PAM or PRM modulation pattern were observed in both implanted monkeys in the direction consistent with the activation of the implanted canal. Both PAM and PRM pulse trains can elicit a significant amount of in-phase modulated eye velocity changes and they could potentially be used for efficiently coding head rotational signals in future vestibular neural prostheses.

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