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A new model for utricular function testing using a sinusoidal translation profile during unilateral centrifugation


Nooij,  SAE
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Buytaert, K., Nooij, S., Neyt X, Migeotte P-F, Vanspauwen R, Van de Heyning, P., & Wuyts, F. (2010). A new model for utricular function testing using a sinusoidal translation profile during unilateral centrifugation. Audiology Neurotology, 15(6). doi:10.1159/000289577.

The utricle plays an important role in orientation with respect to gravity. The unilateral centrifugation test allows a side-by-side investigation of both utricles. During this test, the subject is rotated about an earth-vertical axis at high rotation speeds (e.g. 400°/s) and translated along an interaural axis to consecutively align the axis of rotation with the left and the right utricle. A simple sinusoidal translation profile (0.013 Hz; amplitude = 4 cm) was chosen. The combined rotation and translation induces ocular counter rolling (OCR), which is measured using 3-D video-oculography. This OCR is the sum of the reflexes generated by both the semicircular canals and the utricles. In this paper, we present a new physiological model that decomposes this total OCR into a canal and a utricular contribution, modelled by a second-order transfer function and a combination of 2 sine functions, respectively. This model yields parameters such as canal gain, cupular and adaptation time constants and a velocity storage component for the canals. Utricular gain, bias, phase and the asymmetry between the left and the right utricle are characteristic parameters generated by the model for the utricles. The model is presented along with the results of 10 healthy subjects and 2 patients with a unilateral vestibular loss due to acoustic neuroma surgery to illustrate the effectiveness of the model.