More Common Than you Think: Vestibulo-ocular and Vestibulospinal Dysfunction in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease

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With age and impairment due to neurodegenerative processes, the nervous system expresses symptoms of dizziness and imbalance with a dramatic increase in fall risk. While the fall risk of older individuals is well-known, the symptoms for patients with peripheral nervous system (PNS) pathology and central nervous system (CNS) degeneration are less well-known and manifest as vestibulo-ocular and vestibulo-spinal impairment. Emerging research shows a clear dysfunction in vestibular physiology in these populations, which adversely affects gaze and postural control and increases fall risk. This session will discuss the pathophysiology of vestibular function in the context of aging and PNS/CNS damage, critical examination tools, and research-based recommendations to augment vestibular motor learning in these patient populations. The presenters will use case studies to illustrate characteristic deficits in vestibular function and guide clinical decision making regarding examination and treatment.

Learning Objectives:
1 . Describe the natural aging process as it relates to vestibulo-ocular and vestibulospinal function.
2. Discuss the evidence for vestibular damage within 2 model neurodegenerative diseases.
3. Describe the research evidence for motor learning within the vestibulo-ocular and vestibulospinal pathways in the context of aging and neurodegeneration.
4. Identify crucial examination tools and treatment methods to measure and improve gaze and gait stability in patients with a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.


Anaheim, CA

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