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A New Sensitive Test Using Virtual Reality and Foam to Probe Postural Control in Vestibular Patients: The Unilateral Schwannoma Model

Abstract : Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are benign tumors of the vestibular nerve that may trigger hearing loss, tinnitus, rotatory vertigo, and dizziness in patients. Vestibular and auditory tests can determine the precise degree of impairment of the auditory nerve, and superior and inferior vestibular nerves. However, balance is often poorly quantified in patients with untreated vestibular schwannoma, for whom validated standardized assessments of balance are often lacking. Balance can be quantified with the EquiTest. However, this device was developed a long time ago and is expensive, specific, and not sensitive enough to detect early deficits because it assesses balance principally in the sagittal plane on a firm platform. In this study, we assessed postural performances in a well-defined group of VS patients. We used the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) and a customized device consisting of a smartphone, a mask delivering a fixed or moving visual scene, and foam rubber. Patients were tested in four successive sessions of 25 s each: eyes open (EO), eyes closed (EC), fixed visual scene (VR0), and visual moving scenes (VR1) delivered by the HTC VIVE mask. Postural oscillations were quantified with sensors from an android smartphone (Galaxy S9) fixed to the back. The results obtained were compared to those obtained with the EquiTest. Vestibulo-ocular deficits were also quantified with the caloric test and vHIT. The function of the utricle and saccule were assessed with ocular and cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (o-VEMPs and c-VEMPs), respectively. We found that falls and abnormal postural oscillations were frequently detected in the VS patients with the VR/Foam device. We detected no correlation between falls or abnormal postural movements and horizontal canal deficit or age. In conclusion, this new method provides a simpler, quicker, and cheaper method for quantifying balance. It will be very helpful for (1) determining balance deficits in VS patients; (2) optimizing the optimal therapy indications (active follow-up, surgery, or gamma therapy) and follow-up of VS patients before and after treatment; (3) developing new rehabilitation methods based on balance training in extreme conditions with disturbed visual and proprioceptive inputs.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 20, 2022 - 11:04:17 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:58:08 PM
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Grâce Oussou, Christophe Magnani, Ioannis Bargiotas, Georges Lamas, Frederic Tankere, et al.. A New Sensitive Test Using Virtual Reality and Foam to Probe Postural Control in Vestibular Patients: The Unilateral Schwannoma Model. Frontiers in Neurology, 2022, 13, pp.891232. ⟨10.3389/fneur.2022.891232⟩. ⟨hal-03699327⟩



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