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Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation Elicits Consistent Head–Neck Motion in Seated Subjects

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5 Author(s)
Ehtemam, F. ; Dept. of Biomech. Eng., Delft Univ. of Technol., Delft, Netherlands ; Forbes, P.A. ; Schouten, A.C. ; van der Helm, F.C.T.
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Humans actively stabilize the head-neck system based on vestibular, proprioceptive and visual information. Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) has been used previously to demonstrate the role of vestibular feedback in standing balance. This study explores the effect of GVS on head-neck kinematics and evaluates the approach to investigate the vestibular contribution to head-neck stabilization. GVS was applied to 11 seated subjects using seven different stimuli (single sinusoids and multisines) at amplitudes of 0.5-2 mA and frequencies of 0.4-5.2 Hz using a bilateral bipolar configuration while 3-D head and torso kinematics were recorded using motion capture. System identification techniques were used evaluating coherence and frequency response functions (FRFs). GVS resulted in significant coherence in roll, yaw and lateral translation, consistent with effects of GVS while standing as reported in the literature. The gain of the FRFs varied with frequency and no modulation was observed across the stimulus amplitudes, indicating a linear system response for the stimulations considered. Compared to single sine stimulation, equivalent FRFs were observed during unpredictable multisine stimulation, suggesting the responses during both stimuli to be of a reflexive nature. These results demonstrate the potential of GVS to investigate the vestibular contribution to head-neck stabilization.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 7 )