About this Research Topic
Bilateral vestibular dysfunction is emerging as a topic of interest in cellular, physiological, functional, and integrative neuroscience. Biological and environmental insults to the vestibular periphery and the resulting damage affect motor function and cognition, particularly with increasing age. Additionally, since many environmental insults are unavoidable, cumulative damage is likely to occur. Cellular changes in the vestibular periphery have been identified in animals with bilateral vestibular loss. Less, however, is known about the long-term functional consequences of bilateral peripheral loss on vestibular dependent behaviors such as balance, postural control, gait, and cognition. Similar to the auditory system, the vestibular system is capable of significant recovery after unilateral vestibular loss and minor bilateral insult. It is unclear if after “recovery” the vestibular periphery is anatomically and physiologically the same as a healthy vestibular periphery, or if the “recovered” periphery is more susceptible to vestibular insults and less capable of recovery with future insults.
The goal of this Topic is to publish studies that explore a range of biological and environmental factors that cause peripheral vestibular dysfunction, and that integrate multiple factors that may contribute to what we understand as “aging” in the inner ear. Therefore, the overarching goal of this Topic is to determine how biological and environmental factors work together or apart to cause bilateral vestibular dysfunction and to determine what among these factors may be preventable or lead to treatment. This goal will be achieved by 1) studies that examine the impact of biological (aging, autoimmune disease) and environmental factors (e.g., noise, ototoxic chemicals or medications, vibration) on the vestibular periphery, 2) studies that examine the cellular, physiological, and functional impacts of these factors, and 3) studies that evaluate basic mechanisms or therapeutic approaches that may promote recovery.
The scope of this topic will include examination of biological and environmental factors that contribute to bilateral vestibular dysfunction, consequences of bilateral vestibular dysfunction, and mechanisms that influence dysfunction, recovery, and rehabilitation. Examination of environmental insults and capacity for recovery at the cellular level may elucidate potential sources of loss or dysfunction, including damage to hair cells, synaptic terminals, vestibular ganglion neurons, and myelination of fibers projecting to the vestibular periphery or central nervous system. Likewise, capacity for, and mechanisms underlying recovery may cover the same targets in the vestibular periphery. Sound physiological methods should be those established in the literature, including, but not limited to single unit and local field potential and vestibular evoked potential recording. All methods should demonstrate a timeline of normal function, insult, and recovery (if present), either in the same subject or in well-balanced groups. We welcome any articles from clinical or basic science research that may expand our view of vestibular function and dysfunction.
Keywords: Vestibular Periphery, Bilateral Vestibular Loss, 8th Nerve, Vestibular Labyrinth, Vestibular Ganglion, Environmental Exposure, Meniere's Disease, Aging, Gait, Cognition, Ototoxin, Vestibular Afferent
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