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Nicolas Vuillerme, Rémy Cuisinier; Sensory Supplementation through Tongue Electrotactile Stimulation to Preserve Head Stabilization in Space in the Absence of Vision. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(1):476-481. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-1595.
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purpose. To investigate the effectiveness of a head position-based, tongue-placed biofeedback system in providing sensory supplementation to preserve head stability in space in the absence of visual information.
methods. Nine healthy young men with normal vision and no history of previous motor problems, neck injury, vertigo, neurologic disease, or vestibular impairment voluntarily participated in the experiment. They were asked to stand, their feet placed in a semitandem position, as immobile as possible in two conditions of No Vision and Vision and two conditions of No Biofeedback and Biofeedback. In the Biofeedback condition, subjects executed the postural task using a biofeedback system whose principle consisted of supplying them with additional information about their head orientation/motion with respect to gravitational vertical through electrotactile stimulation of the tongue. A system for the analysis of movement was used to record the head displacements.
results. Without the provision of the biofeedback (No Biofeedback condition), the No Vision condition yielded increased head displacements along the mediolateral axis compared with the Vision condition. Conversely, when biofeedback was available (Biofeedback condition), no significant difference between the No Vision and Vision conditions was observed.
conclusions. These results suggest that healthy young subjects were able to efficiently use head position-based, tongue-placed biofeedback to suppress the head instability induced by the suppression of vision. Hence the present findings demonstrate the effectiveness of a head position-based, tongue-placed biofeedback in providing sensory supplementation to preserve head stability in space in conditions of absent visual information.
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