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December 1979

Peripheral Vestibular Pathology in Schizophrenic Infants-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychology and Social Relations William James Hall 33 Kirkland St Cambridge, MA 02138

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(13):1463-1464. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780130081013

Gordon asserts that Fish and Dixon's data indicate the Presence of peripheral disease of the vestibular system. We believe that Gordon's interpretations are not the most parsimonious explanation of these findings.

Gordon is correct in stating that transitory response decrements can accompany organic diseases affecting the peripheral vestibular system, as in Menière's disease and "vestibular neuronitis."1 However, temporarily absent or diminished vestibular responses also occur in diseases of the CNS, such as brain-stem lesions,2 and may even be caused by improper control of testing variables, such as the opportunity for optic fixation and level of alertness, without signifying organic pathology.3 Thus, sporadic vestibular hyporeactivity alone does not necessarily permit one either to localize a lesion or even to implicate the presence of disease.

The association between peripheral vestibular disease and psychiatric symptoms in Dix and Hood's sample,4 cited by Gordon, does not warrant the conclusion that

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