Vibrotactile Aid and Brain Cortical Activity

Suárez H, Cibils D, Caffa. C, Silveira A, Basalo S, Svirsky M. Acta Otolaryngol.(Stock) 1997 117:208-210.

Six profoundly deaf patients were studied with mapping evoked potentials (MEP) using an acoustic signal passed through the vibrotactile prosthesis. This stimulus produced an activation of the central sulcus brain cortex. When the prothesis was placed in the presternal area it showed Nl PI potentials with higher voltage and a more defined cortical dipole inversion than when the prosthesis was placed in the arm or abdomen: thus the presternal stimulation is considered an adequate place for the use of vibrotactile stimulation. The MEP were recorded in 2 patients after a period of audiological training and they showed new earlier potentials. These suggest plastic changes in the processing of an acoustic signal sent from the presternal skin by the somatosensory pathway after training and involving learning procedures.