Sep 30 2013

Why Isn’t the Spinning Dancer Dizzy?

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5 Responses to “Why Isn’t the Spinning Dancer Dizzy?”

  1. DevoutCatalyston 30 Sep 2013 at 8:34 am

    Can vestibular therapy help older adults ? I’d like to accompany someone on the Tilt-a-Whirl, that old time deceptively tame looking carnival ride that makes many adults want to vomit.

  2. oldmanjenkinson 30 Sep 2013 at 8:51 am

    There is a gentleman in his late 60′s at the gym where I used to go (thank you rotator cuff!) who suffered a cranial injury secondary to a vehicle collision. He has been doing vestibular therapy which he says has helped. He still has to monitor how quickly he turns his head to the left but can turn it at a much more rapid pace without fear of getting dizzy and falling down. It has always amazed me when ice skaters spin. Have any studies looked at this Dr. Novella? I can imagine the velocity they spin in vastly faster than when ballet dancers do it. The Tanoura dance done in Egypt is amazing not just for the spinning but also the colorful skirts done when performed.

  3. The Other John Mcon 30 Sep 2013 at 9:15 am

    Sort of the opposite pattern also occurs, in which the brain seems to adapt to motion but the effect won’t turn off when the motion goes away. This happens sometimes for people after riding planes, trains, and automobiles (but boats seem most common). After returning from a trip, and motion is stopped, people feel like the world is still moving, and for some unfortunate people this effect may never go away. Check out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal_de_debarquement

    Does NOT make me want to try a cruise!

  4. Enzoon 30 Sep 2013 at 3:56 pm

    In the martial arts, I’ve encountered this canard that the longer one has practiced, the more likely they are to develop motion sickness in things like cars and amusement park rides. Anecdotally, I’ve heard many times that experienced practitioners feel motion sick in some situations when earlier in their lives they had not.

    Are you aware of any plausibility or truth to this? You’ve made me want to check into it.

  5. DaveLilieon 02 Oct 2013 at 2:21 pm

    This reminds me of training when I was a naval flight officer. As part of our aviation indoctrination courses, we went into a Multi-station Spacial Disorientation Devide (MSDD) or, as we called it, “the spin and puke.”

    http://www.migrationspecialties.com/pdf/MSDD.pdf

    It helped train young pilots and aircrew in spacial disorientation and airsickness physiology and prevention techniques. Some slipped through and had debilitating airsickness when they reached their training or operational squadrons. These unfortunate folks would return to Pensacola for more intense training in the centrifuge to try and overcome the airsickness they developed. A process of making them more sick so they will be less sick.

    An occasional victim of airsickness myself, especially on low altitude, turblent flights with lots of maneuvering and no outside references, I would get airsick if I had not flown for a while. If I were flying several times a week, I would acclimate after just a few days and had problems only during the most extreme of maneuvers. It is miserable trying to complete mission essential tasks when you are throwing up.

    We also see this in our astronauts who have very light schedules during their first few days in space since, as I recall, space sickness affects about 70% of them. But they, too, quickly adjust and become fully funtional and symptom free after just a few days.

    I’m not sure if this is neuroplasticity in action but some acclimation to this type of motion induced vertigo seems more rapid than the months required adjusting to the central or peripheral vertigo discussed in the article above.

    Great stuff, Dr. Novella. I try to read every posting. Keep it up!

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