Head-shaking nystagmus in patients with unilateral peripheral vestibular lesions

T. C. Hain, M. Fetter, D. S. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


In certain patients with peripheral or central vestibular lesions, a transient nystagmus appears after shaking the head rapidly for 10 to 20 cycles. We recorded such a “head-shaking mystagmus” using the scleral eye coil in six subjects with unilateral peripheral vestibular lesions. Horizontal head shaking elicited horizontal nystagmus with slow phases that were initially directed toward the side of the lesion and upward. All subjects showed a prolonged, lower-amplitude reversal phase after the initial response following horizontal head shaking. The main features of these results can be explained by an analytic model that incorporates 1) a central velocity-storage mechanism that perseverates vestibular inputs, 2) Ewald's second law, and 3) adaptation of primary vestibular afferent activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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