Association between Saccule and Semicircular Canal Impairments and Cognitive Performance among Vestibular Patients

Kevin Pineault, Deryck Pearson, Eric Wei, Rebecca Kamil, Brooke Klatt, Yuri Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: Growing evidence suggests that vestibular function impacts higher-order cognitive ability such as visuospatial processing and executive functioning. Despite evidence demonstrating vestibular functional impairment impacting cognitive performance, it is unknown whether cognitive ability is differentially affected according to the type of vestibular impairment (semicircular canal [SCC] versus saccule) among patients with diagnosed vestibular disease. Design: Fifty-four patients who presented to an academic neurotologic clinic were recruited into the study. All patients received a specific vestibular diagnosis. Forty-one patients had saccule function measured with the cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential, and 43 had SCC function measured using caloric irrigation. Cognitive tests were administered to assess cognitive performance among patients. One hundred twenty-five matched controls were recruited from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging to compare cognitive performance in patients relative to age-matched healthy controls. Results: Using multivariate linear regression analyses, patients with bilaterally absent cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potential responses (i.e., bilateral saccular impairments) were found to take longer in completing the Trail-Making test (β = 25.7 sec, 95% confidence interval = 0.3 to 51.6) and to make significantly more errors on the Benton Visual Retention test part-C (β = 4.5 errors, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2 to 7.8). Patients with bilateral SCC impairment were found to make significantly more errors on the Benton Visual Retention test part-C (β = 9.8 errors, 95% CI = 0.2 to 19.4). From case-control analysis, for each SD difference in Trail-Making test part-B time, there was a corresponding 142% increase in odds of having vestibular impairment (odds ratio = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.44 to 4.07). Conclusions: These data suggest that bilateral saccule and SCC vestibular impairments may significantly affect various domains of cognitive performance. Notably, the cognitive performance in patients in this study was significantly poorer relative to age-matched healthy adults. Cognitive assessment may be considered in patients with saccule and SCC impairments, and cognitive deficits in vestibular patients may represent an important target for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-692
Number of pages7
JournalEar and hearing
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • BLSA
  • Cognition
  • Saccule
  • Semicircular canal
  • Vestibular function
  • Vestibular testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing

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