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Andersson Gerhard; Yardley, Lucy; Luxon, Linda
The American Journal of Otology: September 1998
Meniere's Disease: PDF Only
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Objective

This study aimed to examine interference between mental activity and control of balance.

Study Design

In a mixed design, dual-task study, the performance of patients and healthy control subjects was compared on computerized dynamic posturography, on a visuospatial mental task, and when performing the mental task while balancing.

Setting

The study was performed at a tertiary referral outpatient neuro-otology clinic.

Patients and Subjects

The patient group comprised 24 patients seen consecutively at the clinic because of vertigo and dizziness. The control group consisted of 24 subjects with no complaint or medical history of dizziness or balance disorder, matched with the patients for age and gender.

Main Outcome Measures

Performance on a visuospatial mental task and on the computerized dynamic posturography test (conditions 4 and 5) was measured.

Results

Balancing on the posturography test resulted in a deterioration in performance on the mental task for both patients and control subjects. The effect was more marked when subjects had their eyes closed. Results on the balance test showed that normal subjects and patients with normal balance also swayed more when performing the mental task, whereas patients who had failed the posturography test swayed less when performing the mental task.

Conclusions

These results show that mental performance deteriorates when performing a demanding balance task. In addition, in both normal subjects and patients, balance also may be affected by mental activity in complex and varied ways that merit further investigation.

© 1998, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.