Instructions for patients undergoing vestibular testing often include some request to refrain from ingesting caffeine prior to the evaluation. A recent series of publications from the SUNY Buffalo suggest that this may be unnecessary. In the current issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (JAAA), McNerney et al (2018) examine the influence of caffeine on rotary chair and oculomotor testing.
The participants included 30 healthy young adults that denied balance issues. Each participant was tested in two separate sessions, one in which they refrained from coffee (24 hours prior to testing), the second where they consumed a 16 oz cup of coffee with ~300 mg of caffeine. The results did not reveal any statistically significant differences between the sessions, except for saccades and optokinetics.
The saccade and optokinetics findings were consistent with faster responses and higher gain in the caffeine group, the authors attributed these effects to attention. Despite, the statistical significance of the finding, the authors deemed the results non-clinically significant. The primary limitation of the study was lack of inclusion of participants with balance complaints and older adults. It is also plausible that abstinence from caffeine among higher consumers, may introduce unwanted withdrawal effects.
For more information, brew up a nice cup of coffee and check out the full article listed below.
McNerney K, Coad M, Burkard R. (2018) The influence of caffeine on rotary chair and oculomotor testing. JAAA 29(7):587–595.
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