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Vestibular Functioning in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders Using the Functional Head Impulse Test

Abstract : Several studies in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), reading impairment, or attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) pointed toward a potential dysfunction of the vestibular system, specifically in its complex relationship with the cerebellum. The aim of the present study was to test the functional vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) responses in children with NDDs to measure functional performance of the vestibular system. The VOR is specifically involved in this stabilization of the image on the retina during rapid movements of the head. To perform this study, four groups of children with ASD, ADHD, reading impairment, and with neurotypical development (TD) were enrolled (n = 80). We performed the functional head impulse test (fHIT), which measured the percentage of correct responses by asking the child to identify an optotype briefly presented during passive head impulse in each direction of each semicircular canal plane. We observed significantly lower correct answers in children with NDDs compared with those with TD (p < 0.0001). Surprisingly, there was no significant difference between the three groups of children with NDDs. Our study fostered preliminary evidence suggesting altered efficiency of vestibular system in children with NDDs. VOR abnormalities estimated using the fHIT could be used as a proxy of NDD impairments in children, and represent a potential biomarker.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 6:15:44 PM
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Simona Caldani, Moetez Baghdadi, Ana Moscoso, Eric Acquaviva, Paola Atzori, et al.. Vestibular Functioning in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders Using the Functional Head Impulse Test. Brain Sciences, MDPI, 2020, 10 (11), pp.887. ⟨10.3390/brainsci10110887⟩. ⟨hal-03149108⟩

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