PhD Scientific Days 2023

Budapest, 22-23 June 2023

Neurosciences - Posters G

Frequency-dependent reduction of cyber-sickness in Virtual Reality by transcranial oscillatory stimulation of the vestibular cortex

Alberto Benelli Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy

Francesco Neri Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy
Oto-Neuro-Tech Conjoined Lab, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena, Italy

Alessandra Cinti Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy

Patrizio Pasqualetti Health Statistics, University La Sapienza, Roma, Italy

Sara M. Romanella Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy
Precision Neuroscience & Neuromodulation Program, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Alessandro Giannotta Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy

David De Monte Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy

Marco Mandalà Oto-Neuro-Tech Conjoined Lab, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena, Italy
Otolaryngology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology Section, University of Siena, Italy

Carmelo Smeralda Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy

Domenico Prattichizzo Oto-Neuro-Tech Conjoined Lab, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena, Italy

Emiliano Santarnecchi Precision Neuroscience & Neuromodulation Program, Gordon Center for Medical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Simone Rossi Siena Brain Investigation & Neuromodulation Lab (Si-BIN Lab), Unit of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Italy
Oto-Neuro-Tech Conjoined Lab, Policlinico Le Scotte, University of Siena, Italy

Text of the abstract

INTRODUCTION: Virtual reality (VR) applications are pervasive of everyday life, as in working, medical and entertainment scenarios. Despite technological advances of VR devices, there is yet no effective solution to nausea, dizziness, and general discomfort that most of users undergo.
This is what is referred to as cyber-sickness (CS), a disabling vestibular syndrome resulting from a mismatch of integration among visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular information.

METHOD: 37 healthy subjects; 6 min VR rollercoaster ride (Epic Rollercoaster) experience displayed through a head-mounted Oculus Quest 2 wearing GSR electrodes. Biophysical modelling: using SimNIBS, target areas are bilateral parietal-insular-vestibular cortex (PIVC) and the posterior insular cortex (PIC). Baseline and 3 tACS stimulation sessions: 2 Hz, 10 Hz and Sham (10 Hz experimental conditions, 2 Hz and Sham control conditions). During the rollercoaster ride they reported CS sensations (seconds) and during recovery phase, subjects answered the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ), regarding the symptoms of CS.
Whole sample: 10-Hz tACS significantly reduced CS nausea versus 2-Hz tACS (p=.025). 18 out of all 41 subjects (44%) worsened their nausea during the rollercoaster ride during 2 Hz-tACS versus Sham.

RESULTS: Suitable of improvement (29 subjects): CS nausea during 10-Hz tACS significantly decreased both versus Sham (p= .05) and versus 2-Hz tACS (p= .021); 22 out of the 33 (67%) improved the nausea during 10 Hz-tACS versus Sham.
GSR : reduction during 10 Hz-tACS versus 2 Hz-tACS condition (p= .001) and a significant increase during 2 Hz-tACS versus Sham condition (p= .005), but not significant difference between 10 Hz-tACS and Sham.

CONCLUSIONS: Results open a new way to facilitate the use of VR in different working, medical and entertainment scenarios, with potential exploitation to other
vestibular dysfunctions.