balance

Category B - full version without watermark 720x576 (check terms and conditions at www.teledesign.de) The version with watermark is for free to embed. The sense of balance is maintained by complex relationships between sense organs that are located in the ears, eyes, joints, skin, and muscles. The brain (part of the central nervous system) receives and processes the input from these peripheral sense organs. When the system is working successfully, the brain is able to tell us in what direction we are pointed, what direction we are moving toward, and if we are turning or standing still. Balance problems can occur, however, when the brain receives conflicting messages from the different sense organs, or if a disease affects one or more of the sense organs. The balance system The vestibular (balance) system is made up of five organs that are housed in the inner ear (labyrinth). These so-called vestibular organs are the three semicircular canals, the saccule, and the utricle. (The saccule and the utricle make up the vestibule.) See the Figure. The semicircular canals are responsible for the detection of rotation (angular acceleration). In contrast, the saccule and utricle are responsible for the detection of straight-line (linear) acceleration and gravity.