Electrotactile vestibular sensory substitution based biofeedback therapy on balance disorders

  • Yamanaka Toshiaki
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Nara Medical University School of Medicine

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  • Human-Machine Interface を用いる前庭感覚代行バイオフィードバック療法

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<p> Biofeedback is a technique in which individuals can use to learn to control their body functions and develop changes in behavior. Feedback intervention connected to electrical sensors provides patients with additional sensory information and leads to enhanced body performance. Based on the detected performance, visual, auditory, electrotactile and vibrotactile biofeedback could be provided to substitute for vestibular information and enhance balance control.<br> The present clinical study investigated the effect of electrotactile biofeedback training with a vestibular substitution tongue device (VSTD) on refractory postural imbalance in 16 patients with unilateral vestibular loss. The VSTD transmits information on the head position to the brain through the tongue as substitutes for the lost vestibular information. The device's electrode array was placed on the tongue, and subjects were trained to maintain a centered body position by ensuring the electrical signals were sited in the center of their tongue. All subjects completed 10 minute training sessions two or three times per day for eight weeks and were followed-up over two years after the cessation of the training program to evaluate the long-term effect of the training.<br> Balance functions involving postural stability and gait improved after the 8-week training period in all subjects. These improvements were maintained for up to 2 years even after the termination of the training program. Thus, short-term training with VSTD had beneficial long-term effects.<br> It is suggested that a sensory substitution system using a human-machine interface which substitutes for diminished vestibular input can provide patients with additional sensory input to promote central compensation during the exercise.<br> VSTD biofeedback training might be a useful rehabilitation therapy in subjects with persistent balance disorders and might lead to long-term improvements in their balance performance and ability to perform daily and social activities.</p>


  • Equilibrium Research

    Equilibrium Research 76 (3), 180-187, 2017

    Japan Society for Equilibrium Research

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