Age-related Changes in the Vestibular System


We are currently conducting studies of age-related alterations in the vestibular input to the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), which is critically involved in homeostatic sympathetic autonomic mechanisms including blood pressure regulation. Both the activity of neurons in RVLM and the sympathetic regulation of blood pressure are altered during normal aging. These alterations are a major cause of falls in the elderly, and in this population falls represent the leading cause of injury-related deaths, as well as nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. This project addresses fundamental questions relevant to one cause of such falls – age-related alterations in vestibulo-autonomic chemical anatomy.