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Overview

The Dizziness and Center was established in 1996 as a conjoint service of the Departments of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Oto-HNS), Neurology, Neurological Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine to 1) serve as an intake service into the medical center for patients with complaints of dizziness and imbalance, 2) provide state of the art diagnostic testing using the Vestibular Diagnostic Laboratory of the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery clinic, and 3) coordinate multidisciplinary care. (more)

Facilities

The Center is currently is currently under the Direction of Dr. James Phillips, who is a Vestibular Neurophysiologist. The Center’s physical facilities include the Otology Clinic at the UWMC directed by Dr. Larry Duckert, the Vestibular Diagnostic Laboratory directed by Dr. James Phillips, and the treatment facilities in Physical Therapy directed by Janice Lambert, P.T.

An Emphasis on Research and Teaching

In addition to providing expert diagnosis and management of patients with vestibular disorders, the Center has a special mandate to contribute to advancing the clinical science of the vestibular system. Although current diagnostic methods are good, there is still a large gap in the sensitivity and specificity of existing test batteries. Developing new tests, evaluating their effectiveness, and applying them to patient care are a vital part of the Center’s responsibility. This is in keeping with the reputation of the UWMC as one of the premiere teaching and research hospitals in the U.S.

The Center conducts a multidisciplinary monthly conference for case review and coordination of patient care that is attended by representatives from the sponsoring departments, including Oto-HNS, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Neuro-ophthalmology, and clinicians in private practice in the community. This is a working staffing conference in which problem cases are reviewed and joint treatment plans are instituted. The conference also features a mini-lecture program under the aegis of Dr. Phillips for basic education in vestibular disorders and treatment.

The biennial meeting of the Barany Society – the world’s principal vestibular science group – was organized by the Center faculty and held in Seattle in 2002. In addition, the Center faculty hosted a basic vestibular science satellite immediately preceding the main meeting.

The Center faculty and staff under the direction of Dr. George Gates recently completed a multi-center randomized clinical trial of a new method to treat people with Meniere’s disease (Meniett study). Researchers in the center, under the direction of Dr. Phillips, are conducting NASA sponsored research to develop countermeasures for neurovestibular dysfunction in astronauts and patients. Center staff, under the direction of Dr. Val Street are conducting research to determine the genetic contributions to balance and hearing.