Foster, associate professor, School of Medicine, and director of the Balance Laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital, specializes in the non-surgical treatment of dizziness and imbalance caused by inner ear, brain or sensory disorders. She has been treating patients for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and working with dizzy patients at CU since 1994.
Along with Foster, VEDA also honored Daniel Merfeld, PhD, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, and Carey Balaban, PhD, University of Pittsburgh.
A vestibular patient herself, Foster has Meniere’s disease. This disorder of the inner ear causes bouts of vertigo that can last for hours, and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) caused when gravity-sensing particles in the inner ear accidentally enter the ear’s spinning-motion sensors. The symptoms of BPPV can be relieved by maneuvers that relocate the particles, generally done by a specially trained medical professional.
With the room spinning around her, Foster said she developed a maneuver to get the particles out of her horizontal canal and back where they belonged. This half somersault maneuver (see video) followed by a head turn and another quick move of the head gives BPPV patients a way to can manage the symptoms at home.