Effect of gaze-stabilization exercises on vestibular function during postural control

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Abstract

Gaze-stabilization exercise (GSE) is often conducted in vestibular rehabilitation, but its effect on vestibular function in postural control is not clear. We investigated whether GSE affects vestibular function during static upright standing and vestibulospinal reflex (VSR) in healthy young adults. First, the center of pressure of the total trajectory length (CoP-L) was measured before each GSE task or control (only standing) task (pre), immediately after (post), and 10 min after (post10) in the static standing position on foam rubber with the eyes open or closed (EC). Second, the H-reflex on the soleus muscle was measured after the onset of ipsilateral anodal galvanic vestibular stimulation before and after a GSE or a control task to estimate the amount of VSR induced by electrical vestibular input. CoP-L for the pre, post, and post10 control tasks and the GSE in EC did not differ significantly; the CoP-L for the post and post10 tasks in EC were significantly lower than that for the pretask. The H-reflex was inhibited by galvanic vestibular stimulation in the pre-GSE tasks. The inhibition increased after GSE, but not during control tasks. These findings suggest that GSE immediately improves the postural stability required for vestibular function and can be mediated by VSR improvements.

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