Balance

The vestibular labyrinth is the portion of the inner ear concerned with balance and equilibrium. It monitors the three-dimensional angular and linear forces acting on the head and conveys the information to the brain, where it is combined with vision and other sensory information, and used in such function as postural control and spatial orientation. Information is passed to the brain by way of afferent nerve fibers. In addition, there is an efferent innervations (EVS) that originates in the brain and synapses on hair cells and afferent processes. Although we know a great deal about the peripheral actions of the EVS, we have much less understanding of its function. One way of learning more about its function is to determine the neurotransmitters used by the EVS and the receptors they activate.
Most people are unaware of the operation of the vestibular system because it does. Not lead to distinct conscious sensations. This is so as long as the system isoperating normally. But abnormalities of the system can lead to debilitating sensations of dizziness and vertigo, as well as the disastrous failure of balance. In fact, among the elderly, falls are a leading cause of morbidity and much of this defect in balance control is due to a decrease in vestibular sensitivity. There are reasons to believe that the EVS attempts to maintain vestibular function throughout the lifetime of the individual. Hence, knowledge of the EVS may lead to therapies that reduce the debilitation associate with vestibular abnormalities and an understanding of the pharmacology of the EVS may lead to new drug therapies.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…