Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32727
Computer Models of the Vestibular Head Tilt Response, and Their Relationship to EVestG and Meniere's Disease

Authors: Daniel Heibert, Brian Lithgow, Kerry Hourigan


This paper attempts to explain response components of Electrovestibulography (EVestG) using a computer simulation of a three-canal model of the vestibular system. EVestG is a potentially new diagnostic method for Meniere's disease. EVestG is a variant of Electrocochleography (ECOG), which has been used as a standard method for diagnosing Meniere's disease - it can be used to measure the SP/AP ratio, where an SP/AP ratio greater than 0.4-0.5 is indicative of Meniere-s Disease. In EVestG, an applied head tilt replaces the acoustic stimulus of ECOG. The EVestG output is also an SP/AP type plot, where SP is the summing potential, and AP is the action potential amplitude. AP is thought of as being proportional to the size of a population of afferents in an excitatory neural firing state. A simulation of the fluid volume displacement in the vestibular labyrinth in response to various types of head tilts (ipsilateral, backwards and horizontal rotation) was performed, and a simple neural model based on these simulations developed. The simple neural model shows that the change in firing rate of the utricle is much larger in magnitude than the change in firing rates of all three semi-circular canals following a head tilt (except in a horizontal rotation). The data suggests that the change in utricular firing rate is a minimum 2-3 orders of magnitude larger than changes in firing rates of the canals during ipsilateral/backward tilts. Based on these results, the neural response recorded by the electrode in our EVestG recordings is expected to be dominated by the utricle in ipsilateral/backward tilts (It is important to note that the effect of the saccule and efferent signals were not taken into account in this model). If the utricle response dominates the EVestG recordings as the modeling results suggest, then EVestG has the potential to diagnose utricular hair cell damage due to a viral infection (which has been cited as one possible cause of Meniere's Disease).

Keywords: Diagnostic, endolymph hydrops, Meniere's disease, modeling.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1453


[1] Rabbitt R.D., Damiano E.R., and Grant J.W (2004), "Biomechanics of the Semicircular Canals and Otolith Organs", in The Vestibular System, Springer, Chapter 4.
[2] Damiano E.R. and Rabbitt R.D. (1996), "A Singular Perturbation Model of Fluid Dynamics in the Vestibular Semicircular Canal and Ampulla", The Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 307, pp. 333-372.
[3] Rabbitt R.D. and Damiano E.R. (1992), "A hydro elastic model of macro mechanics in the endolymphatic vestibular canal", The Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 238, pp. 337-369
[4] Aso S., Wattanabe Y., and Mizukoshi K. (1991), "A clinical study of electrocochleography in Meniere-s disease", Acta. Otolaryngol. (Stockh.), vol. 111, pp. 44 - 52.
[5] Yamauchi A., Rabbitt R.D., Boyle R., and Highstein S.M. (2001), "Relationship between Inner-Ear Fluid Pressure and Semicircular Canal Afferent Nerve Discharge", The Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, vol. 03, pp. 26 - 44.
[6] Gibson W.P.R. and Prasher D.K. (1983), "Electrocochleography and its role in the diagnosis and monitoring of endolymphatic hydrops", Otolaryngol. Clin. North Am., vol. 16, pp. 59 - 68.
[7] Tribukait A. and Rosenhall U. (2001), "Directional Sensitivity of the Human Macula utriculi Based on Morphological Characteristics", The Journal of Audiology & Neuro-otology, vol. 6, pp. 98 - 107.
[8] Mosicki E. K., Elkins E.F., Baum H.M., and McNamara P.M. (1985), "Hearing loss in the elderly: an epidemiologic study of the Framingham Heart Study Cohort", Ear and Hearing, vol. 6(4), pp. 90 -184.
[9] Rabbitt R.D. and Highstein S.M. (1999), "Influence of Surgical Plugging on Horizontal Semicircular Canal Mechanics and Afferent Response Dynamics", The Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 82, pp.1033-1052.
[10] Kim. H. H., Kumar. A., Battista R. A. and R. J. Wiet. (2005), "Electrocochleography in patients with Meniere's disease", American Journal of Otolaryngology, vol. 26, Issue 2 (March-April), pp. 128-131.
[11] Kreyszig E. (1993), Advanced Engineering Mathematics, Seventh Edition, John Wiley and Sons.
[12] Wilson V.J. and Jones G.M. (1979), Mammalian Vestibular Physiology, Plenum Press, New York.
[13] Shoushtarian M. (2005), The relationship between Electrovestibulography (EvestG) and Parkinson-s Disease, Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Monash University (transfer report).
[14] Garrett, A. (2006), Characterisation of Sensory Cells within the Vestibular System Using Electrovestibulography (EVestG), Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Monash University (transfer report).
[15] Baloh R.W. and Honrubia V. (2001), Clinical Neurophysiology of the Vestibular System, Third Edition, Oxford University Press.
[16] Rajguru S.M., Ifediba M.A., and Rabbitt R.D. (2004), "Three- Dimensional Biomechanical Model of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo", Annals of Biomedical Engineering, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 831 - 846.
[17] Obrist D. (2007), Fluid Mechanics of Semicircular Canals -Revisited, Institute Of Fluid Dynamics, ETH ZURICH, Sonneggstrasse 3, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
[18] Lithgow B.J., Shoushtarian M., and Heibert D. (2006), "ElectroVestibuloGram (EVestG): The separation of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and Meniere-s Disease", MedSip2006, Glasgow, UK, CD Rom, 4 pages.
[19] Goldberg J.M. et al (1990), "The Vestibular Nerve of the Chinchilla IV. Discharge Properties of Utricular Afferents", The Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 781 -789.
[20] Lithgow B.J. (Inventor), "A neural event process", Patent, (WO2006/024102, priority date 1st September 2004).
[21] De Vries, H. (1950), "The mechanics of the labyrinth otoliths", Acta Oto-Laryngol., vol. 38, pp. 262 - 273.
[22] Lithgow B.J. (Inventor), "A neural event system", Patent, (PCT/AU2007/902924, priority date June 2007).
[23] Selmani Z., Marttila T., and Pyykko H. (2005), "Incidence of virus infection as a cause of Meniere-s disease or endolymphatic hydrops assessed by electrocochleography", Eur. Arch. Otorhinolaryngol., vol. 262, pp. 331 - 334.
[24] Beasley B.J.P. and Jones N.S., (1996),"Historical Article- Meniere-s Disease: evolution of a definition" The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, vol. 10, pp. 1107-1113.
[25] Lsyakowski A. and Goldberg J.M. (2004), "Morphophysiology of the Vestibular Periphery", in The Vestibular System, Springer, Chapter 3.
[26] Sadeghi S.G., Minor L.B., and Cullen K.E. (2007), "Response of Vestibular-Nerve Afferents to Active and Passive Rotations Under Normal Conditions and After Unilateral Labyrinthectomy", Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 97, pp. 1503 - 1514.
[27] Lindenlaub T. et. al. (1995), "Convergent Evolution of the Vestibular Organ in the Subterranean Mole-Rats, Cryptomys and Spalax, as Compared With the Aboveground Rat, Rattus", Journal of Morphology, vol. 224, pp. 303-311.
[28] Goldberg J.M. et al (1990), "The Vestibular Nerve of the Chinchilla. V. Relation Between Afferent Discharge Properties and Peripheral Innervation Patterns in the Utricular Macula", Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 63, no. 4, pp. 791 -804.
[29] Franz, B. (2002), "A method of measuring the activity of a biological system", Patent, International publication number WO 02/47547 A1.
[30] Ferraro J., Best L., and Kaufman I. (1983), "The use of electrocochleography in the diagnosis, assessment and monitoring of endolymphatic hydrops", Otolaryngologic clinics of North America, vol. 16, pp. 69-82.
[31] Dallos P. (1973), The auditory periphery: Biophysics and physiology, New York Academic Press.
[32] Grant J.W. and Cotton J.R. (1991), "A model for otolith dynamic response with viscoelastic gel layer", Journal of Vestibular Research, vol. 1, pp. 139 - 151.
[33] Grant J.W., Huang C.C. and Cotton J.R. (1994), "Theoretical mechanical frequency response of the otolithic organs", Journal of Vestibular Research, vol. 4, pp. 137 - 151.
[34] Jaeger R., Takagi A., and Haslwanter T. (2002), "Modeling the relation between head orientations and otolith responses in humans", Hearing Research, vol. 173, pp. 29 - 42.
[35] Lithgow B.J., Garrett A., and Heibert D. (2008), "EVestG: A Measure for Meniere-s Disease", 29th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS, Vancouver, Canada, 4 pages accepted.
[36] Smith C.A. et al (1958), "DC Potentials of the Membranous Labyrinth", Am. Journal of Physiology, vol. 193(I), pp. 203 - 206.
[37] Motulsky H. (1995), Intuitive Biostatistics, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 285 - 286.
[38] Naganuma H. et al. (2003), "Three Dimensional Analysis of Morphological Aspects of the Human Utricular Macula", Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol., vol. 112, no. 5, pp. 419.
[39] Obrist D. and Hegemann S. (2007), Fluid Mechanics of Benign Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV), Institute Of Fluid Dynamics, ETH ZURICH, Sonneggstrasse 3, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
[40] Hall J.W. (1992), Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses, Allyn and Bacon; Needham Heights, Massachusetts.