Few studies have focused on the role of the vestibular system for navigation and spatial memory functions in humans, with controversialresults. Since most experimental settings were based on magnetic resonance imaging volumetry of the hippocampusand virtual navigation task on a PC, aim of this study was to investigate whether a well-compensated unilateral peripheral vestibularhypofunction in humans could interfere with navigation tasks while walking on memorized routes. A series of 50 unilaterallabyrinthine-defective patients, without vertigo at the time of examination, and 50 controls were invited to visually memorize 3different routes (a triangle, a circle and a square) on a grey carpet and then to walk along them clockwise and counter-clockwise(mental map navigation) with eyes closed. The same test was then repeated with eyes open (actual navigation) and a second timewith eyes closed (mental navigation). Execution time was recorded in each test. In the same session, working spatial memory wasassessed by the Corsi block test and all subjects completed the Symptom Check List (SCL-90) to assess depression and anxietylevels. Results showed that labyrinthine-defective patients presented higher levels of anxiety and depression and performed theCorsi block test with more difficulties than controls. All differences reached statistically significant level (p < 0.05). Moreover,patients needed more time than controls in the first and third navigation tasks (eyes closed). No difference was observed betweenclockwise and counter-clockwise walking, on all routes, either in patients or controls. Patients showed a greater improvement inthe third navigation task, with respect to the first test, than controls, with no side-effect in relation to labyrinthine hypofunction.These data demonstrate that walking along memorized routes without vision is impaired by peripheral vestibular damage even ifvestibular compensation prevents patients from suffering from vertigo and balance disturbances. This impairment could be due toa permanent deficit of visuo-spatial short-term memory as suggested by the Corsi block test results even if a residual sensori-motor impairment and/or an interference of psychological distress could not be excluded
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Titolo:||Impaired navigation skills in patients with psychological distress and chronic peripheral vestibular hypofunction without vertigo|
|Autori:||G. Guidetti; D. Monzani; M. Trebbi; V. Rovatti|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su rivista|
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