Ariel Winnick, Shirin Sadeghpour, Jorge Otero-Millan, Tzu Pu Chang & Amir Kheradmand
Patients with vestibular migraine (VM) often report dizziness with changes in the head or body position. Such symptoms raise the possibility of dysfunction in neural mechanisms underlying spatial orientation in these patients. Here we addressed this issue by investigating the effect of static head tilts on errors of upright perception in a group of 27 VM patients in comparison with a group of 27 healthy controls. Perception of upright was measured in a dark room using a subjective visual vertical (SVV) paradigm at three head tilt positions (upright, ±20°). VM patients were also surveyed about the quality of their dizziness and spatial symptoms during daily activities. In the upright head position, SVV errors were within the normal range for VM patients and healthy controls (within 2° from true vertical). During the static head tilts of 20° to the right, VM patients showed larger SVV errors consistent with overestimation of the tilt magnitude (i.e., as if they felt further tilted toward the right side) (VM: -3.21° ± 0.93 vs. Control: 0.52° ± 0.70; p = 0.002). During the head tilt to the left, SVV errors in VM patients did not differ significantly from controls (VM: 0.77° ± 1.05 vs. Control: -0.04° ± 0.68; p = 0.52). There was no significant difference in SVV precision between the VM patients and healthy controls at any head tilt position. Consistent with the direction of the SVV errors in VM patients, they largely reported spatial symptoms toward the right side. These findings suggest an abnormal sensory integration for spatial orientation in vestibular migraine, related to daily dizziness in these patients.
Winnick, Sadeghpour, Otero-Millan, Chang & Kheradmand (2018) Errors of Upright Perception in Patients With Vestibular Migraine.. Front Neurol. 2018 Oct 30;9:892.