Ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials to bone conducted vibration of the midline forehead at Fz in healthy subjects

S Iwasaki, Y E Smulders, A M Burgess, L A McGarvie, H G Macdougall, G M Halmagyi, I S Curthoys
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2008, 119 (9): 2135-47

OBJECTIVE: To provide the empirical basis for using ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (oVEMPS) in response to Fz bone conducted vibration (BCV) stimulation to indicate vestibular function in human subjects. To show the generality of the response by testing a large number of unselected healthy subjects across a wide age range and the repeatability of the response within subjects. To provide evidence that the response depends on otolithic function.

METHODS: The early negative component (n10) of the oVEMP to brief BCV of the forehead, in the midline at the hairline (Fz) is recorded by surface EMG electrodes just beneath the eyes. We used a Bruel and Kjaer 4810 Mini-Shaker or a light tap with a tendon hammer to provide adequate BCV stimuli to test a large number (67) of unselected healthy people to quantify the individual differences in n10 magnitude, latency and symmetry to Fz BCV. A Radioear B-71 bone oscillator at Fz is not adequate to elicit a reliable n10 response.

RESULTS: The n10 oVEMP response showed substantial differences in amplitude between subjects, but is repeatable within subjects. n10 is of equal magnitude in both eyes with an average asymmetry around 11%. The average n10 amplitude for Mini Tone Burst BCV is 8.47microV+/-4.02 (sd), the average latency is 10.35ms+/-0.63 (sd). The amplitude of n10 decreases and its latency increases with age.

CONCLUSIONS: oVEMPs are a new reliable, repeatable test to indicate vestibular and probably otolithic function.

SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows the optimum conditions for recording oVEMPs and provides baseline values for individual differences and asymmetry. oVEMPs can be measured in senior subjects without difficulty.

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