The effects of galvanic stimulation on the human vestibulo-ocular reflex

Neuroreport. 2000 Nov 27;11(17):3897-901. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200011270-00058.


We studied the effects of 5 mA bilateral or unilateral, bipolar or monopolar, galvanic stimulation on the horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex (hVOR) in six normal subjects during 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5 and 1 Hz yaw rotations and in two subjects during high-acceleration, low-amplitude yaw head rotations (head impulses). Bipolar galvanic stimulation induced horizontal nystagmus in all subjects and an asymmetry of the hVOR only during rotations below 0.1 Hz. Monopolar stimulation had no significant effect. The findings suggest that in humans galvanic stimulation affects those primary horizontal semicircular canal neurons that mediate the hVOR via indirect pathways through the velocity storage mechanism.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nystagmus, Physiologic / physiology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Rotation