A three-dimensional model is proposed that accounts for a number of phenomena attributed to the otoliths. It is constructed by extending and modifying a model of vestibular velocity storage. It is proposed that the otolith information about the orientation of the head to gravity changes the time constant of vestibular responses by modulating the gain of the velocity storage feedback loop. It is further proposed that the otolith signals, such as those that generate L-nystagmus (linear acceleration induced nystagmus), are partially coupled to the vestibular system via the velocity storage integrator. The combination of these two hypotheses suggests that a vestibular neural mechanism exists that performs correlation in the mathematical sense which is multiplication followed by integration. The multiplication is performed by the otolith modulation of the velocity storage feedback loop gain and the integration is performed by the velocity storage mechanism itself. Correlation allows calculation of the degree to which two signals are related and in this context provides a simple method of determining head angular velocity from the components of linear acceleration induced by off-vertical axis rotation. Correlation accounts for the otolith supplementation of the VOR and the sustained nystagmus generated by off-vertical axis rotation. The model also predicts the cross-coupling of horizontal and vertical optokinetic afternystagmus that occurs in head-lateral positions and the reported effects of tilt on vestibular responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science(all)