Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Advisor(s)

Lincoln C. Gray

Jonathan Spindel

Abstract

Dizziness can often be a serious and confounding condition that ranges in severity from annoying to debilitating and affects many people. The most common and effective treatment for persistent dizziness is vestibular rehabilitation therapy, which falls into three categories: adaptation, sensory substitution, and habituation. While more is known about adaptation and sensory substitution, questions remain regarding the exact mechanisms of recovery for habituation. Precisely, the optimal stimulation to the vestibular system, as measured in intensity of head accelerations, is unknown for habituation treatment. In this dissertation are drafts of two manuscripts. The first explores the average intensity of linear and angular head accelerations in non-symptomatic and symptomatic subjects across age and self-reports of dizziness and imbalance during four commonly-used habituation exercises. The second paper presents a mathematical formula for transposing angular displacement in the traditional anatomical planes to the planes of the semicircular canal pairs for collected data on angular displacement of the head. This mathematical model allows for conversion of measurement from overall head accelerations into angular acceleration in the planes of each paired set of semicircular canals, and increases research and clinical knowledge of vestibular stimulation during head-movement exercises.

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