London – Scientists have found that symptoms of motion sickness could be eradicated within five to ten years due to a new treatment currently being developed by experts in the subject.
According to studies, motion sickness or kinetosis, also referred as travel sickness, is a condition caused by a disagreement between a visually perceived movement and the vestibular system’s sense of movement.
The vestibular system is, in mammals, the sensory system that provides the major contribution in our body regarding the sense of balance and spatial orientation with the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. Motion sickness can also be known as sea sickness, car sickness, simulation sickness and airsickness.
The research conducted by the Imperial College London and published in the journal Neurology, suggests that a mild electrical current applied to the scalp can reduce responses in the area of the brain responsible for processing motion signals. This would help the brain lower the impact of the confusing signals it is receiving and prevents the issue that is causing the common symptoms of motion sickness to appear. Symptoms include dizziness, fatigue and nausea.
“We are confident that within five to ten years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device. It may be something like a tens machine that is used for back pain.” said Dr. Qadeer Arshad, lead author of the study.
The long term objective of the research would be to integrate this treatment with a mobile phone or any portable device that is capable of delivering the small amount of electricity required to stop the sickness.
For the study, scientists made volunteers wear electrodes on their heads for 10 minutes. Then they were asked to sit in a motorized spinning chair that also tilts to simulate the usual movements that make people feel motion sick. After the treatment, volunteers claimed they were less likely to feel dizzy or nauseous and that if they did they recovered faster.
Furthermore, the research team already began to discuss with partners in the industry about developing the device. There is a special interest for this treatment among the military for different aspects of their duty. This, for instance, may help soldiers who are remotely controlling drones using a visual interface to reduce possible motion sickness symptoms.