Decline in Semicircular Canal and Otolith Function With Age
ABSTRACT To characterize the physiologic nature of the vestibular dysfunction that occurs with the normative aging process.
Tertiary care academic medical center.
Fifty individuals age 70 years and above.
Head thrust dynamic visual acuity testing and cervical and ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) testing.
Semicircular canal function measured by head thrust dynamic visual acuity testing in each of the 3 semicircular canal planes, and saccular and utricular function measured by cervical VEMP and ocular VEMP testing, respectively.
We observed significant declines in semicircular canal function in each of the canal planes as well as otolith function associated with aging. We found that individuals with impaired horizontal and superior semicircular canal function also were likely to have concomitant deficits in utricular but not saccular function. Overall, we noted that the prevalence of semicircular canal dysfunction was highest followed by saccular then utricular impairment, although we did observe individuals with isolated otolith deficits.
These data suggest an overall decline in semicircular canal as well as otolith function associated with aging, although the magnitude of impairment was greater for the semicircular canals than the otoliths in this elderly population. A better understanding of the specific vestibular deficits that occur with aging can inform the development of rational screening, vestibular rehabilitation, and fall risk reduction strategies in older individuals.
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ABSTRACT: As part of the National Institutes of Health Toolbox initiative, a computerized test of dynamic visual acuity (cDVA) was developed and validated as an easy-to-administer, cost- and time-efficient test of vestibular and visual function. To establish normative reference values, 3,992 individuals, aged 3-85 years, without vestibular pathology underwent cDVA testing at multiple clinical research testing facilities across the United States. Test scores were stratified by sociodemographic characteristics. cDVA was worse in males (p < 0.001) and those subjects 50 years or older, while there was no difference in dynamic visual acuity across age groups binned from 3 to 49 years. Furthermore, we used these normative cDVA data as a criterion reference to compare both the long (validated) and short versions of the test. Both versions can distinguish between those with and without vestibular pathology (p = 0.0002 long; p = 0.0025 short). The intraclass correlation coefficient between long- and short-cDVA tests was 0.86.Frontiers in Neuroscience 10/2014; 5:1-7. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2014.00223/full
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ABSTRACT: In the elderly, major complaints include dizziness and an increasing number of falls, possibly related to an altered processing of vestibular sensory input. In this study, we therefore investigate age-related changes induced by processing of vestibular sensory stimulation. While previous functional imaging studies of healthy aging have investigated brain function during task performance or at rest, we used galvanic vestibular stimulation during functional MRI in a task-free sensory stimulation paradigm to study the effect of healthy aging on central vestibular processing, which might only become apparent during stimulation processing. Since aging may affect signatures of brain function beyond the BOLD-signal amplitude-such as functional connectivity or temporal signal variability-we employed independent component analysis and partial least squares analysis of temporal signal variability. We tested for age-associated changes unrelated to vestibular processing, using a motor paradigm, voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging. This allows us to control for general age-related modifications, possibly originating from vascular, atrophic or structural connectivity changes. Age-correlated decreases of functional connectivity and increases of BOLD-signal variability were associated with multisensory vestibular networks. In contrast, no age-related functional connectivity changes were detected in somatosensory networks or during the motor paradigm. The functional connectivity decrease was not due to structural changes but to a decrease in response amplitude. In synopsis, our data suggest that both the age-dependent functional connectivity decrease and the variability increase may be due to deteriorating reciprocal cortico-cortical inhibition with age and related to multimodal vestibular integration of sensory inputs.Brain Structure and Function 01/2015; 125. DOI:10.1007/s00429-014-0983-6 · 7.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dizziness and imbalance are amongst the most common complaints in older people, and are a growing public health concern since they put older people at a significantly higher risk of falling. Although the causes of dizziness in older people are multifactorial, peripheral vestibular dysfunction is one of the most frequent causes. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the most frequent form of vestibular dysfunction in the elderly, followed by Meniere's disease. Every factor associated with the maintenance of postural stability deteriorates during aging. Age-related deterioration of peripheral vestibular function has been demonstrated through quantitative measurements of the vestibulo-ocular reflex with rotational testing and of the vestibulo-collic reflex with testing of vestibular evoked myogenic potentials. Age-related decline of vestibular function has been shown to correlate with the age-related decrease in the number of vestibular hair cells and neurons. The mechanism of age-related cellular loss in the vestibular endorgan is unclear, but it is thought that genetic predisposition and cumulative effect of oxidative stress may both play an important role. Since the causes of dizziness in older people are multi-factorial, management of this disease should be customized according to the etiologies of each individual. Vestibular rehabilitation is found to be effective in treating both unilateral and bilateral vestibular dysfunction. Various prosthetic devices have also been developed to improve postural balance in older people. Although there have been no medical treatments improving age-related vestibular dysfunction, new medical treatments such as mitochondrial antioxidants or caloric restriction, which have been effective in preventing age-related hearing loss, should be ienvestigated in the future.02/2015; 6(1):38-47. DOI:10.14336/AD.2014.0128