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Influence of Electrotactile Tongue Feedback on Controlling Upright Stance during Rotational and/or Translational Sway-referencing with Galvanic Vestibular StimulationIntegration of multi-sensory inputs to detect tilts relative to gravity is critical for sensorimotor control of upright orientation. Displaying body orientation using electrotactile feedback to the tongue has been developed by Bach-y-Rita and colleagues as a sensory aid to maintain upright stance with impaired vestibular feedback. MacDougall et al. (2006) recently demonstrated that unpredictably varying Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) significantly increased anterior-posterior (AP) sway during rotational sway referencing with eyes closed. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of electrotactile feedback on postural control performance with pseudorandom binaural bipolar GVS. Postural equilibrium was measured with a computerized hydraulic platform in 10 healthy adults (6M, 4F, 24-65 y). Tactile feedback (TF) of pitch and roll body orientation was derived from a two-axis linear accelerometer mounted on a torso belt and displayed on a 144-point electrotactile array held against the anterior dorsal tongue (BrainPort, Wicab, Inc., Middleton, WI). Subjects were trained to use TF by voluntarily swaying to draw figures on their tongue, both with and without GVS. Subjects were required to keep the intraoral display in their mouths on all trials, including those that did not provide TF. Subjects performed 24 randomized trials (20 s duration with eyes closed) including four support surface conditions (fixed, rotational sway-referenced, translating the support surface proportional to AP sway, and combined rotational-translational sway-referencing), each repeated twice with and without GVS, and with combined GVS and TF. Postural performance was assessed using deviations from upright (peak-to-peak and RMS sway) and convergence toward stability limits (time and distance to base of support boundaries). Postural stability was impaired with GVS in all platform conditions, with larger decrements in performance during trials with rotation sway-referencing. Electrotactile feedback improved performance with GVS toward non-GVS levels, again with the greatest improvement during trials with rotation sway-referencing. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of tongue electrotactile feedback in providing sensory substitution to maintain postural stability with distorted vestibular input.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wood, Scott J. (Legacy Health System Portland, OR, United States)
Tyler, Mitchell E. (Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
Bach-y-Rita, Paul (Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
MacDougall, Hamish G. (Sydney Univ. Australia)
Moore, Steven T. (Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY, United States)
Stallings, Valerie L. (Legacy Health System Portland, OR, United States)
Paloski, William H. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Black, F. Owen (Legacy Health System Portland, OR, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Association for Research in Otolaryngology 2007 MidWinter Meting(Denver, CO)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits