Neuroanatomy 08 The Vestibular System


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Blood pressure

This photo shows a nurse taking a woman’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The nurse is pumping the cuff with her right hand and holding a stethoscope on the patient’s arm with her left hand.
A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (credit: Bryan Mason/flickr)

Chapter objectives

After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
  • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex, in terms of the six levels of organization
  • Identify the functional characteristics of human life
  • Identify the four requirements for human survival
  • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body
  • Compare and contrast at least four medical imagining techniques in terms of their function and use in medicine

Though you may approach a course in anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in this course will serve you well in many aspects of your life. An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also benefit your own health. Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

This chapter begins with an overview of anatomy and physiology and a preview of the body regions and functions. It then covers the characteristics of life and how the body works to maintain stable conditions. It introduces a set of standard terms for body structures and for planes and positions in the body that will serve as a foundation for more comprehensive information covered later in the text. It ends with examples of medical imaging used to see inside the living body.

Quiz PDF eBook: 
Neuroanatomy 08 The Vestibular System
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Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the Neuroanatomy 08 The Vestibular System Quiz

Question: In the absence of bilateral vestibular function, orientation of the body in space is possible due to:


Visual input.

Auditory input.

Dorsal column input.

Both A and C.

A, B, and C.

Question: This structure:


Signals angular acceleration.

Is important for conjugate eye movements.

Signals orientation with respect to gravity.

Is bathed with perilymph.

Question: The medial vestibulospinal tract and MLF aid in:


Orienting toward visual stimuli.

Maintaining visual fixation.

Stabilizing the head in space.

Vestibulocollic reflex (i.e. head bobbing when you fall asleep in lecture).

All of the above.

Question: At which level, in the photograph, do the primary vestibular axons enter the brain stem?


The caudal medulla.

The pontomedullary junction.

The mid-pons.

Near the mammillary bodies in the interpeduncular fossa.

Question: The vestibular system can be stimulated or irritated by an infection of the inner ear or by a tumor (arrow) pressing on the vestibulocochlear nerve. Which of the following would NOT occur?


Decreased auditory acuity.



Loss of facial sensation.


Question: What is the dorsal root ganglion equivalent for the vestibular portion of cranial nerve VIII called?


Spiral ganglion.

Vestibular ganglion.

Celiac ganglion.

Geniculate ganglion.

Semilunar ganglion.

Question: The receptors of the utricle, saccule and semicircular canals, shown here, are examples of?





Question: Information from these nuclei reach consciousness in the:


Inferior colliculus.

Inferior thalamus near VPL.

Cortex between intraparietal and postcentral sulci.


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Disclaimer:  This course does NOT provide the education or experience needed for the diagnosing or treating any medical condition, all site contents are provided as general information only and should not be taken as a medical advice.
Source:  Stephen C. Voron, M.D., Suzanne S. Stensaas, Ph.D. , Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132,
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