Effect of Multi-site Variabilities on Electrovestibulography: Environmental and Physical Factors

  • Brian J. Lithgow University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, and Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Zahra Moussavi University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Keywords: Multi-site recording variability, electrodes, powerline frequency, gender, age, Electrovestibulography, biological markers, vestibular.


Background: There are physiological changes in pathologies such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) within the lower vestibuloacoustic system, which may be potentially useful when used as neurodegeneration features. We hypothesize two Electrovestibulography feature types (Field Potential (FP) shape and the Firing pattern of detected FP’s) may have utility as Neurodegeneration features. Our long term objective is to use a population of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), AD, Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), Bipolar Disorder (BD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) patients together with individual pathology-wise age and gender matched control cohorts to determine the degree to which each of these pathologies varies from controls and in proportion to the level of Neurodegeneration often associated (either temporarily or permanently) with each pathology. However, before such a comparison can be made it is necessary to ensure the various populations recorded across different countries are comparable. This paper determines which populations are comparable.

Methods: An initial comparison of AD (with N = 16) and a best matched healthy control population (with specific age/gender/recording site/electrode matched controls) from a pool of 112 controls produced two EVestG features (FP shape and FP firing pattern). These features were examined for their variability with respect to electrode type, age, gender, powerline frequency and environmental factors.

Results: Age and gender did not have a significant impact on the features. Powerline and environmental artefacts could be accounted for by filtering; thus, they did not significantly affect the features measured. However, electrode type had a significant effect on the extracted features.

Conclusions: For the two EVestG features tested only electrode type had a significant effect on the recordings, and hence the extracted features. Thus, only populations with the same electrode type can be compared.

Author Biographies

Brian J. Lithgow, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, and Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Brian J. Lithgow is currently the Leader of the Diagnostic and Neurosignal Processing Research Groups at the Alfred Hospital (Melbourne, Australia) and Riverview Health Centre (Winnipeg, Canada). He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Alfred Hospital and Research Affiliate at Riverview Health Center. His appointments include Adjunct Professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada and Adjunct Assoc. Professor at Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Center. He founded the Monash University Centre for Biomedical Engineering (MUCBE) and was the Director of Teaching for MUCBE from 2001-2010.

His recent research is diagnostics development for neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, including Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Vertiginous Disorders, Post-concussion syndrome, Bipolar disorder and Major Depressive disorder (4 patents). The successful quantitative separation of unipolar and bipolar depression is a world first. Current research aims at separating Dementia types and predicting treatment efficacy. An animal study is looking at modelling of vestibular electro-neurophysiology. He has published more than 130 refereed publications, 6 books, 2 book chapters, 5 patents.

Zahra Moussavi, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Zahra Moussavi is a professor, a Canada Research Chair, and the founder and director of Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program at University of Manitoba. Her current research focuses are on medical devices instrumentation and signal analysis for sleep apnea management and Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment using virtual reality, rTMS and EVestG technologies. She is the recipient of several awards including the “Canada’s Most Powerful Women (Top 100)” and “Manitoba Distinguished Women” in 2014 and IEEE EMBS Distinguished Lecturer, 2014 and 2019. She has published more than 259 peer-reviewed papers in journals and conferences, and has given 94 invited talks/seminars including 2 Tedx Talks and 9 keynote speaker seminars at national and international conferences. Aside from academic work, on her spare time, she writes science articles for public; also has developed and offered memory fitness programs for aging population.

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