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Effects of Ethnicity and Gender on Motion Sickness Susceptibility

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Klosterhalfen S, Kellermann S, Pan F, Stockhorst U, Hall G, Enck P. Effects of ethnicity and gender on motion sickness susceptibility. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:1051–1057.

Introduction: Susceptibility to motion sickness (MS) is known to be affected by gender and ethnic origin, but whether gender and ethnicity are interacting is unknown. Methods: We investigated MS development in healthy Caucasian subjects (n = 227), and in subjects of Chinese origin (n = 82). All subjects were exposed to nausea-inducing body rotations in a rotation chair, and rotated around the yaw axis for 5 × 1 min, while they were instructed to move their heads. Prior to rotation, subjects had to fill out a motion-sickness susceptibility questionnaire (MSSQ). Total rotation tolerance time (RT) was noted. Symptom ratings (SR) were performed at the beginning, and immediately after the end of each rotation, and 15 and 30 min later. Results: The average RT was significantly higher in Caucasian (163 ± 6 s) than in Chinese subjects (111 ± 7 s) (F = 24.84, p < 0.0001). The adult MSSQ score was significantly lower in Caucasians (17.8 ± 1.1) than in Chinese volunteers (24.2 ± 2.1) (F = 6.05, p = 0.014). Maximal SR post rotation was similar in Chinese and Caucasian subjects. RT was highly predictable from the MSSQ scores, but separate for both genders. Conclusion: Susceptibility to MS is affected by both ethnic origin and by gender in a rather complex fashion. The most reliable prediction of RT can be based on the individual’s history as assessed by the MSSQ.
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Keywords: ethnicity; gender; nausea; rotation chair; screening; vomiting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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