Document Type: Original
Department of Audiology, School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
The majority of the daily life activities involve the concurrent performance of simultaneously challenging motor and cognitive activities, such as talking while walking, which requires the vestibular system for balance. Functional balance allows the brain to interpret and integrate the sensory information from our physical and social environment. This study aimed to investigate the effect of cognitive activities on the vestibular system function.
Materials and Methods:
This study investigated the otolith system as a sensory organ that is responsible for linear acceleration by recording ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potential (oVEMP) in 28 healthy participants (11 males and 17 females) with the age range of 18-26 years under a cognitive condition. The rest and intervention states were compared in terms of oVEMP n1-p1 amplitude, n1-p1 latencies, and gender.
The results showed that the oVEMP n1-p1 amplitude in both ears significantly decreased, and the asymmetry increased after cognitive tasks, compared to the rest state in females (P≤0.02). Moreover, there was no significant difference between the rest state and numeric subtraction task in terms of oVEMP n1-p1 latencies in males and females (P>0.05).
These results suggest that an augmented cognitive load causes an alteration in the oVEMPs; therefore, it is suggested that the structures associated with the cognitive processing are connected with the vestibular system in the brain. These findings demonstrate the importance of non-vestibular factors in balance, especially in females.