The vestibular implant: A probe in orbit around the human balance system

Angelica Perez Fornos, Samuel Cavuscens, Maurizio Ranieri, Raymond van de Berg, Robert Stokroos, Herman Kingma, Jean-Philippe Guyot, Nils Guinand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

The primary goal of the vestibular implant is to restore the vestibular function in patients with a disabling bilateral vestibular loss for whom there is currently no available treatment. The prototype developed by our team is a hybrid system consisting of a modified cochlear implant incorporating additional vestibular electrodes. Therefore, in addition of delivering sound information it is also capable of delivering motion information to the central nervous system using electrical stimulation. To date, thirteen patients have been implanted with such vestibular implant prototypes. For ethical reasons, only deaf ears were implanted and all patients experienced a clinical benefit from the hearing rehabilitation. The recent demonstration of partial restoration of the vestibulo-ocular and the vestibulo-collic reflexes in implanted patients suggests that gaze stabilization and postural control, fundamental functions of the balance system, can be artificially restored using a vestibular implant. This allows us to glimpse a useful clinical application in a near future. In parallel, we show how the vestibular implant provides a unique opportunity to explore the integration of the vestibular sensory input into the multisensory, multimodal balance system in humans, since it is able to selectively stimulate the vestibular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research-Equilibrium & Orientation
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Vestibular implant
  • bilateral vestibular loss
  • therapeutical medical device
  • multisensory
  • balance
  • SEMICIRCULAR CANAL AFFERENTS
  • DYNAMIC VISUAL-ACUITY
  • ELECTRICAL-STIMULATION
  • BILATERAL VESTIBULOPATHY
  • SINGULAR NEURECTOMY
  • TILT PSYCHOPHYSICS
  • AUDITORY OUTCOMES
  • RHESUS-MONKEYS
  • EYE-MOVEMENTS
  • NERVE

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