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What Is Vertigo? [Video]

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Learn what causes dizziness in this new video from Scientific American‘s Instant Egghead series. In this short movie, I explain how your inner ears work to help you balance, orient yourself and see what’s around you in a stable fashion. When your inner ears don’t function well, you may stumble, fall, vomit and watch your surroundings gyrate wildly. See this feature in Scientific American Mind on the making of an implanted prosthesis to restore balance and correct dizziness in individuals with inner ear problems.

Ingrid Wickelgren About the Author: Ingrid Wickelgren is an editor at Scientific American Mind, but this is her personal blog at which, at random intervals, she shares the latest reports, hearsay and speculation on the mind, brain and behavior. Follow on Twitter @iwickelgren.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. voyager63 12:17 am 05/15/2014

    No false modesty here. I’ve found two cures for my Miniere’s. My Dad had it late in life, and I’ve had a few episodes myself. But no more. I won’t go into the reason why they work because I don’t know the mechanics, but they has been infallible for me.

    When I start to feel the symptoms, I do the thing you most do not want to do: sit down, bend over, put my hands solidly on my knees, and shake my head HARD from side to side. This agitation resets something, and the syndrome is gone. If you have any neck problems, you probably shouldn’t try this.

    I found another method before this, takes longer but no head-shaking violence is needed. Lie down on your back and turn your head full to one side. Then (holding each position for a couple of minutes) turn it about 45 degrees toward vertical, then straight vertical, then 45 degrees down toward the other side, then full to that side. In my case, the symptoms stopped in one and only one position. When I held it there for about five minutes, then slowly moved my head around, side to side, the symptoms were gone. Whether other sufferers want to try one or both is up to them. I can only describe what my own experience has been.

    Link to this
  2. 2. voyager63 12:59 am 05/15/2014

    Correction to one of my self-cures: once I found the one head position in which the symptoms stopped, I held it for about 20 minutes, not five.

    Link to this

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