Indexed on: 17 Apr '16Published on: 17 Apr '16Published in: Journal of Neurology
The handicap resulting from a bilateral vestibular deficit is often underestimated. In most cases the deficit settles gradually. Patients do not understand what is happening to them and have many difficulties to describe their symptoms. They have to consult several doctors with different medical specialties before diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is made there is no biological way to "repair" the deficient vestibular apparatus and vestibular exercises are mildly effective. Attempts have been made to help patients using substitution devices replacing the defective vestibular information by tactile or acoustic cues. Currently, efforts are being made towards the development of a vestibular implant, conceptually similar to the cochlear implant for the rehabilitation of deaf patients. In recent years, several experiments on animal models have demonstrated the feasibility of this project. This paper reports the steps accomplished in human experiments and the main results obtained in our laboratory.