2022 SECD Research Roundup - Emily Walczak
Emily Walczak, a Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) student, discusses her capstone research about the effects of substance use on vestibular function.
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- [00:00:00.000]I'm looking at how
- [00:00:01.701]misusing illegal substances
- [00:00:03.536]and alcohol
- [00:00:04.671]can have an effect on your inner ear.
- [00:00:07.741]So the inner ear is
- [00:00:09.275]hearing and balance,
- [00:00:11.111]so I'm working with someone who's doing just
- [00:00:13.580]the bal - the um
- [00:00:15.015]hearing part and I'm working on the balance part.
- [00:00:17.484]There's kind of two parts to the vestibular system
- [00:00:20.120]where your inner ear itself
- [00:00:22.022]and then in the back, your cerebellum.
- [00:00:23.590]They work together to help you balance.
- [00:00:26.259]Alcohol and illicit substances
- [00:00:28.595]can temporarily affect your inner ear, but
- [00:00:30.964]over long term we're thinking it's going to affect your brain more, which
- [00:00:34.467]is harder to fix.
- [00:00:36.169]This is a very under-researched population
- [00:00:38.405]and subject, so
- [00:00:39.406]we're hoping to get more information so that
- [00:00:42.375]in the clinic we can ask these kind of sensitive questions
- [00:00:45.245]and just know what to be looking for
- [00:00:46.713]if someone says, "Oh yes, I've
- [00:00:48.548]been using alcohol for a very long time."
- [00:00:50.216]We're like, "Well that makes sense with what we're finding.
- [00:00:52.052]That could be the cause."
- [00:00:53.253]As opposed to thinking,
- [00:00:54.454]"Oh, we see something wrong with
- [00:00:56.089]um, this part of your brain. Could it be
- [00:00:58.558]a disorder or could it be from
- [00:01:00.427]something else, like substances?"
- [00:01:02.495]Like I said, this is balance too, so
- [00:01:04.664]um, if your cerebellum in your brain
- [00:01:07.767]or your inner ear isn't working,
- [00:01:08.935]you can be off balance,
- [00:01:10.270]which can lead to falls. And
- [00:01:12.072]we know that the elderly already have higher fall risk
- [00:01:14.441]and if they are elderly who have used substances in their life,
- [00:01:17.777]they're at even higher chance of a fall risk.
- [00:01:19.612]So, we want to prevent that as much as possible.
- [00:01:21.848]I am more of a clinician.
- [00:01:23.817]That's more of what I've been going for in audiology,
- [00:01:25.652]but it's good to see the other side
- [00:01:27.554]of, like, research that knows
- [00:01:29.122]how to drive clinical decisions that
- [00:01:32.158]Research is almost behind the scenes.
- [00:01:33.526]It's kind of telling you
- [00:01:34.828]this is what can happen, these are how we
- [00:01:37.464]test things and find out the results,
- [00:01:39.365]and then we can use them clinically to figure out.
- [00:01:43.403]you become a stronger clinician
- [00:01:44.838]by knowing
- [00:01:45.672]what's behind the scenes and how to do that stuff.
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