Is activation of the vestibular system by electromagnetic induction a possibility in an MRI context?

Nicolas Bouisset*, Janita Nissi, Ilkka Laakso, Raymond F. Reynolds, Alexandre Legros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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In recent years, an increasing number of studies have discussed the mechanisms of vestibular activation in strong magnetic field settings such as occur in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner environment. Amid the different hypotheses, the Lorentz force explanation currently stands out as the most plausible mechanism, as evidenced by activation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Other hypotheses have largely been discarded. Nonetheless, both human data and computational modeling suggest that electromagnetic induction could be a valid mechanism which may coexist alongside the Lorentz force. To further investigate the induction hypothesis, we provide, herein, a first of its kind dosimetric analysis to estimate the induced electric fields at the vestibular system and compare them with what galvanic vestibular stimulation would generate. We found that electric fields strengths from induction match galvanic vestibular stimulation strengths generating vestibular responses. This review examines the evidence in support of electromagnetic induction of vestibular responses, and whether movement-induced time-varying magnetic fields should be further considered and investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Early online date13 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • dosimetry
  • electromagnetic induction
  • galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS)
  • Lorentz force
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • vestibular system


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