Vestibular Disorders Research

Vestibular Disorders Research

Dizziness and imbalance are common symptoms accounting for 3-6 percent of visits across frontline health care settings. Nevertheless, patients are frequently misdiagnosed and ineffectively treated, resulting in lasting discomfort and disability.

Our mission is to understand the body’s balance mechanisms in order to improve diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for patients with dizziness, vertigo and other conditions affecting balance. We are also exploring the relationship of these symptoms with stroke to improve diagnosis in the emergency setting.

With multiple programs of research focused on different aspects of vestibular function, we are applying basic science research in normal and diseased subjects, as well as large clinical and epidemiologic studies intended to have broad public health impact in terms of both diagnosis and treatment.

Biochemical engineering techniques help us record and analyze eye movements in normal subjects and those with neuro-otologic (brain-balance) and neuro-ophthalmologic (brain-vision-eye movement) disorders.

Together we are finding answers to important biological questions such as:

  • How magnetic stimulation through MRI and transcranial devices affects vestibular sensors and cortical brain regions
  • Which mathematical models describe the function of the vestibular and ocular motor systems
  • How neural mechanisms ensure optimal performance of balance and eye movement systems
  • What are the short- and longer-term adaptive processes underlying compensation for disease and functional recovery, and how can we use them to hasten a patient’s return to normal life?