alexa Can an electro-tactile vestibular substitution system improve balance in patients with unilateral vestibular loss under altered somatosensory conditions from the foot and ankle?
Physicaltherapy & Rehabilitation

Physicaltherapy & Rehabilitation

International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Author(s): Vuillerme N, Hlavackova P, Franco C, Diot B, Demongeot J,

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Abstract This pilot study aimed at assessing the feasibility and the effectiveness of an electro Electro-tactile Vestibular Substitution System (EVSS) in patients with unilateral vestibular loss under normal and altered somatosensory conditions from the foot and ankle. Four unilateral vestibular-defective patients voluntarily participated in the experiment. They were asked to stand upright as still as possible with their eyes closed in two Normal and Altered foot and ankle sensory conditions. In the Normal condition, the postural task was executed on a firm support surface constituted by the force platform. In the Altered condition, a 2-cm thick foam support surface was placed under the participants' feet. These two foot and ankle sensory conditions were executed under two No EVSS and EVSS experimental conditions. The No EVSS condition served as a control condition. In the EVSS condition, participants executed the postural task using a biofeedback system whose underlying principle consisted of supplying them with additional information about their head orientation/motion with respect to gravitational vertical through electro-tactile stimulation of their tongue. Centre of foot pressure displacements (CoP) were recorded using the force platform. Results showed that, relative to the No EVSS condition, the EVSS condition decreased CoP displacements in both the Normal and the Altered foot and ankle sensory conditions. Interestingly, the stabilizing effect was more pronounced in the Altered than in the Normal foot and ankle sensory condition. These preliminary results suggest that patients with unilateral vestibular loss were able to take advantage to a head position-based electro-tactile tongue biofeedback to mitigate the postural perturbation induced by alteration of somatosensory input from the foot and the ankle. This article was published in Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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