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Intravestibular Balance and Motion Sickness

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INTRODUCTION: A theory is presented to explain the major findings regarding motion sickness and to synthetize current theories concerning its etiology. The theory proposes that an imbalance in the output of the two major organs of the labyrinth—favoring the semicircular canals over the otolith organs—is responsible for most instances of motion sickness as experienced in terrestrial and microgravity environments.

METHODS: Strengths and limitations of current theories are first outlined before the different roles of the canals and otoliths in the genesis of motion sickness symptoms are described.

RESULTS: The proposed theory is shown to explain a large number of findings and integrate current theories.

DISCUSSION: The role of vestibular imbalance in motion sickness may be a consequence of the more general differences between the canals and otoliths in autonomic control.

Previc FH. Intravestibular balance and motion sickness. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018; 89(2):130–140.
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Keywords: autonomic; otoliths; semicircular canals; vestibular

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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