Here's a bit of information that was sent to me today from a Google alert:

Evidence for cognitive vestibular integration impairment in idiopathic scoliosis patients:

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is characterized by a three-dimensional deviation of the vertebral column and its etiopathogenesis is unknown. Various factors cause idiopathic scoliosis, and among these a prominent role has been attributed to the vestibular system.

While the deficits in sensorimotor transformations have been documented in idiopathic scoliosis patients, little attention has been devoted to their capacity to integrate vestibular information for cognitive processing for space perception. Seated idiopathic scoliosis patients and control subjects experienced rotations of different directions and amplitudes in the dark and produced saccades that would reproduce their perceived spatial characteristics of the rotations (vestibular condition).

We also controlled for possible alteration of the oculomotor and vestibular systems by measuring the subject's accuracy in producing saccades towards memorized peripheral targets in absence of body rotation and the gain of their vestibulo-ocular reflex.

Results: Compared to healthy controls, the idiopathic scoliosis patients underestimated the amplitude of their rotations. Moreover, the results revealed that idiopathic scoliosis patients produced accurate saccades to memorized peripheral targets in absence of body rotation and that their vestibulo-ocular reflex gain did not differ from that of control participants.

Conclusions: Overall, results of the present study demonstrate that idiopathic scoliosis patients have an alteration in cognitive integration of vestibular signals.

It is possible that severe spine deformity developed partly due to impaired vestibular information travelling from the cerebellum to the vestibular cortical network or alteration in the cortical mechanisms processing the vestibular signals.

Author: Martin SimoneauVincent LamotheEmilie HutinPierre MercierNormand TeasdaleJean Blouin
Credits/Source: BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:102