Human subjects placed in strong magnetic fields such as in an MRI scanner often feel dizzy or vertiginous. Recent studies in humans and animals have shown that these effects arise from stimulation of the labyrinth and are accompanied by nystagmus. Here, we measured the three-dimensional pattern of nystagmus using video eye tracking in five normal human subjects placed in a 7T MRI to infer which semicircular canals are activated by magnetic vestibular stimulation. We found that the nystagmus usually had a torsional as well as a horizontal component. Analysis of the relative velocities of the three eye movement components revealed that the lateral and anterior (superior) canals are the only canals activated, and by a similar amount.
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This study was funded by the Fight for Sight and Leon Levy Foundations, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Discovery Fund, and the Cinquegrana, Lott, and Schwerin families.
Conflicts of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
This study has been approved by the institutional review board at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards established in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.
This manuscript is part of a supplement sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the funding initiative for integrated research and treatment centers.
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Otero-Millan, J., Zee, D.S., Schubert, M.C. et al. Three-dimensional eye movement recordings during magnetic vestibular stimulation. J Neurol 264, 7–12 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-017-8420-4
- Magnetic vestibular stimulation
- Magnetic resonance imaging