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Virtual Reality Helps Diagnose Systemic Dizziness Episodes

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 12 Jan 2017
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Image: The Myo armband helps diagnose vestibular disorders (Photo courtesy of KTU/LSMU).
Image: The Myo armband helps diagnose vestibular disorders (Photo courtesy of KTU/LSMU).
An innovative portable technology provides a convenient and inexpensive method for diagnosing vestibular system disorders.

Developed jointly by researchers at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU; Lithuania) and the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU; Kaunas), the technology is based on the Myo armband, a gesture recognition device worn on the forearm manufactured by Thalmic Labs (Kitchener, Canada), which enables the user to control technology wirelessly using various hand motions, interpreted using a set of electromyographic (EMG) sensors.

The EMG sensors identify electrical activity in the forearm muscles, which is then combined with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer to recognize the gestures. The researchers analyzed data from the Myo, combining it with additional input from Samsung virtual reality (VR) software, synchronizing between the different programming languages and environments in order to analyze vestibular conditions. The technology is currently being tested with healthy volunteers.

“Dizziness is a very common health disorder, experienced by both young and older people. Strong systemic dizziness, followed by imbalance, nausea, paleness, and perspiration interferes with human activities and can cause great anxiety,” said lead author Professor Ingrida Ulozienė, PhD, of LSMU. “If the condition persists, the quality of life, mood and work efficiency suffers. Sometimes dizziness can be a symptom of more serious diseases. Unfortunately, the condition is relatively difficult to diagnose.”

The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. Commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops, and perilymph fistula. Other problems related to vestibular dysfunction include vestibular migraine and complications from autoimmune disorders and allergies.

Related Links
Kaunas University of Technology
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
Thalmic Labs

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