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The parietal lobe and the vestibular system.

Handb Clin Neurol. 2018;151:119-140. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63622-5.00006-1.

Authors/Editors: Dieterich M, Brandt T.
Publication Date: 2018


The vestibular cortex differs in various ways from other sensory cortices. It consists of a network of several distinct and separate temporoparietal areas. Its core region, the parietoinsular vestibular cortex (PIVC), is located in the posterior insula and retroinsular region and includes the parietal operculum. The entire network is multisensory (in particular, vestibular, visual, and somatosensory). The peripheral and central vestibular systems are bilaterally organized; there are various pontomesencephalic brainstem crossings and at least two transcallosal connections of both hemispheres, between the PIVC and the motion-sensitive visual cortex areas, which also mediate vestibular input. Structural and functional vestibular dominance characterizes the right hemisphere in right-handers and the left hemisphere in left-handers. This explains why right-hemispheric lesions in right-handers more often generally cause hemispatial neglect and the pusher syndrome, both of which involve vestibular function. Vestibular input also contributes to cognition and may determine individual lateralization of brain functions such as handedness. Bilateral organization is a major key to understanding cortical functions and disorders, for example, the visual-vestibular interaction that occurs in spatial orientation. Although the vestibular cortex is represented in both hemispheres, there is only one global percept of body position and motion. The chiefly vestibular aspects of the multiple functions and disorders of the parietal lobe dealt with in this chapter cannot be strictly separated from various multisensory vestibular functions within the entire brain.


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