Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Current opinion in neurology
Bilateral vestibular deficits exist and their prevalence is more important than believed by the medical community. Their severe impact has inspired several teams to develop technical solutions in an attempt to rehabilitate patients. A particularly promising pathway is the vestibular implant. This article describes the main milestones in this field, mainly focusing on work conducted in human patients. There have been substantial research efforts, first in animals and more recently in humans, toward the development of vestibular implants. Humans have demonstrated surprising adaptation capabilities to the artificial vestibular signal. Today, the possibility of restoring vestibular reflexes, particularly the vestibulo-ocular reflex, and even achieving useful function in close-to-reality tasks (i.e. improving visual abilities while walking) have been demonstrated in humans. The vestibular implant opens new perspectives, not only as an effective therapeutic tool, but also pushes us to go beyond current knowledge and well-established clinical concepts.