Meet John Oas, MD, otoneurologist at Ohio State

Author: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

My name is John Oas. I'm an otoneurologist here at the Wexner Medical Center. An otoneurologist is someone who specializes in vestibular disorders. That's inner ear disorders that affect our balance and give us orientation.

I originally was an engineer at NASA at Johnson's Space Center and I noticed that the astronauts would get dizzy in space, terribly dizzy, and they couldn't figure out why. And there was a lot of research being done on that. So as a result, I got in my first interest then in in medical school I developed it further and realized that neurology was the way to go in terms of trying to understand the vestibular system. Research in the vestibular system is extremely difficult. Most of the research we do nowadays is based on autopsy results of research on ears that are diseased.

What I try to do in my practice is use that data that's in the pathology of the ear and try to translate that back into the patient to try to apply new therapies. There's not a lot of research being done around the country but research done presently in my laboratory is trying to come at a better way of describing otolith disorders. Otoliths are those organs that sense gravity in humans. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is unique in the fact that it's attached to a very large university with great depth in terms of bioengineering research, biomedical research. Therefore we have quite a reservoir of students of all levels who are interested in research projects and like to understand how they can help our patients with their research. Over the last twenty-seven years of practice I've noticed that the only way to be successful in the area of treatment is to involve a treatment team. This involves several different disciplines and several different levels of intensity to make sure that the patient afflicted with vestibular disorders are addressed every in every way possible.

The most rewarding thing about what I do is to meet with the team on a weekly basis to discuss how our patients are doing in rehabilitation. It's there where we can determine if there are problems that would frustrate most rehabilitation teams and address those problems and move forward in the rehabilitation of our patients in a team like approach.

Meet John Oas, MD, otoneurologist at Ohio State

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