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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Aug 29;550:35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.06.046. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

How the vestibular system interacts with somatosensory perception: a sham-controlled study with galvanic vestibular stimulation.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK.


The vestibular system has widespread interactions with other sensory modalities. Here we investigate whether vestibular stimulation modulates somatosensory function, by assessing the ability to detect faint tactile stimuli to the fingertips of the left and right hand with or without galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). We found that left anodal and right cathodal GVS, significantly enhanced sensitivity to mild shocks on either hand, without affecting response bias. There was no such effect with either right anodal and left cathodal GVS or sham stimulation. Further, the enhancement of somatosensory sensitivity following GVS does not strongly depend on the duration of GVS, or the interval between GVS and tactile stimulation. Vestibular inputs reach the somatosensory cortex, increasing the sensitivity of perceptual circuitry.


CVS; EPSPs; GVS; Galvanic vestibular stimulation; Multisensory integration; OP; PIVC; SII; SSDT; Tactile perception; Vestibular system; caloric vestibular stimulation; excitatory postsynaptic potentials; galvanic vestibular stimulation; parietal operculum; parieto insular vestibular cortex; secondary somatosensory cortex; somatosensory signal detection task

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