Central adaptation to repeated galvanic vestibular stimulation: Implications for pre-flight astronaut training

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Abstract

© 2014 Dilda et al.Healthy subjects (N=10) were exposed to 10-min cumulative pseudorandom bilateral bipolar Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) on a weekly basis for 12 weeks (120 min total exposure). During each trial subjects performed computerized dynamic posturography and eye movements were measured using digital video-oculography. Follow up tests were conducted 6 weeks and 6 months after the 12-week adaptation period. Postural performance was significantly impaired during GVS at first exposure, but recovered to baseline over a period of 7-8 weeks (70-80 min GVS exposure). This postural recovery was maintained 6 months after adaptation. In contrast, the roll vestibulo-ocular reflex response to GVS was not attenuated by repeated exposure. This suggests that GVS adaptation did not occur at the vestibular end-organs or involve changes in low-level (brainstem-mediated) vestibulo-ocular or vestibulo-spinal reflexes. Faced with unreliable vestibular input, the cerebellum reweighted sensory input to emphasize veridical extra-vestibular information, such as somatosensation, vision and visceral stretch receptors, to regain postural function. After a period of recovery subjects exhibited dual adaption and the ability to rapidly switch between the perturbed (GVS) and natural vestibular state for up to 6 months. Copyright:

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Dilda, V., Morris, T. R., Yungher, D. A., MacDougall, H. G., & Moore, S. T. (2014). Central adaptation to repeated galvanic vestibular stimulation: Implications for pre-flight astronaut training. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112131

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