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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 337-339

Effect of vestibular stimulation on spatial and verbal memory in college students

1 Department of Physiology, Little Flower Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Angamaly, Kerala, India
2 Department of Physiology, Saveetha Medical College, Saveetha University, Thandalam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Research Director, Little Flower Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Angamaly, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
J K Mukkadan
Research Director, Little Flower Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Angamaly, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-258X.239077

Background. Excessive stress may have an adverse effect on learning and memory of students. It was reported that stimulation of the vestibular system enhances memory through its connections with the hippocampus, limbic system and neo cortex. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of vestibular stimulation in the modulation of memory in healthy human subjects. Methods. For this longitudinal follow-up study, we assessed spatial and verbal memory of participants followed by vestibular stimulation. A total of 240 healthy college students of 18–24 years, of either sex were selected after obtaining written consent from them. Participants were randomly assigned into four groups—control male and female group and vestibular male and female groups. Vestibular stimulation was administered by making the participants swing on a swing, according to their comfort (back to front direction) as standardized by previous methods. Spatial and verbal memory tests were used to assess memory. Data were analysed using two-way ANOVA followed by the Bonferroni post-hoc tests to compare differences between groups. Results. Baseline values of spatial and verbal memory scores were not significantly different between the control and intervention groups. Significant enhancement was observed in spatial memory following vestibular stimulation in males but not female subjects. Contrary to this, significant decrease in spatial memory was observed in both males and females due to pre-examination stress who did not receive any vestibular stimulation. Significant enhancement was observed in verbal memory scores in both males and females who received vestibular stimulation, whereas verbal memory was significantly decreased in males and females in the control groups during the pre-examination period. Conclusion. Our study provides evidence to support vestibular stimulation as an efficient method to enhance memory and to prevent pre-examination associated stress-induced changes on memory. We recommend vestibular stimulation as a simple approach to improve verbal memory among students to cope with their pre-examination stress.

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