Improving Psychological and Vestibular Health Using a Novel Intervention: Making Informed Decisions in Gaze and Postural Stability (MINDGAPS) System

Grants and Contracts Details


Deficits in gaze and postural stability are closely linked with vestibular hypofunction. These deficits result in dizziness and poor balance, increasing the risk for falls and other poor health outcomes. Vestibular hypofunction occurs with several conditions and is increasingly prevalent with advancing age. An estimated 85% of people over the age of 80 experience vestibular hypofunction. As with many age-related health challenges (e.g. sarcopenia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease), exercise is widely recommended to remediate the effects of vestibular hypofunction. Vestibular rehabilitation has demonstrated efficacy at improving vestibular hypofunction in tightly controlled clinical trials, but the effectiveness in practice is limited by two major barriers: 1) reduced patient adherence to the exercise program, and 2) inability to precisely assess vestibular function. These are overlapping challenges; lack of access to vestibular function assessments impedes effective dosing of rehabilitation as well as monitoring of patient adherence and progress. Thus, personalization and monitoring—essential ingredients of nearly any health or exercise regimen—are functionally missing in vestibular rehabilitation practice. For this proposal, we have developed the Making Informed Decisions in Gaze and Postural Stability (MINDGAPS) system, which utilizes wearable sensor technology to provide simple, precise measures of gaze and postural stability, as well as remote monitoring of patient adherence to vestibular exercises. Additionally, MINDGAPS leverages NIH Toolbox data to display patient status compared to normative values and to indicate progress over time relative to measurement error. This enables the application of two innovative behavioral science principles aimed at facilitating patient adherence: 1) social norming; comparison of a patient to her or his peers, and 2) frequent monitoring of progress and outcomes. This study is designed to examine the preliminary efficacy of the MINDGAPS system, along with the feasibility, safety, and acceptability of its use in practice. We will use a single cohort, double-baseline design (n=30 older adults with vestibular hypofunction). Following, the baseline (control) phase, all participants will complete 6 weeks of individualized vestibular rehabilitation informed by the MINDGAPS system. Preliminary efficacy of the intervention will be examined by comparing computerized Dynamic Visual Acuity (cDVA) scores during the intervention phase to cDVA scores during the baseline phase. Other clinical outcomes (e.g., postural stability, video-head impulse testing, patient reported dizziness) will also be examined. Feasibility and safety of the intervention will be examined relative to a priori thresholds for recruitment, retention and adherence rates, as well as recording of adverse events. Finally, the acceptability and remote/telehealth capability of the system will be explored using a mixed methods analysis, which will inform system refinement in preparation for a future R01 submission (phase II clinical trial).
Effective start/end date9/30/229/29/26


  • University of Montana: $73,000.00


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