Ten patients with canal paresis of central origin and ten patients with peripheral canal paresis were studied using MRI of the brainstem to identify lesions within the central vestibular pathways. In the central group, the magnitude of the canal paresis was generally lower than in the peripheral group and removal of fixation had little effect on the nystagmic response. In the peripheral group, removal of fixation enhanced the nystagmus and lessened the discrepancy between the two ears. Statistical processing of the MRI showed that in the central group significant spatially coincident lesions occurred within the medial vestibular nucleus, lateral vestibular nucleus and proximal portion of the vestibular fascicle.
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