Scientists have explained why people get motion sickness

(ORDO NEWS) — Many people suffer from motion sickness while traveling in various modes of transport, which is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and vomiting. But so far there is no consensus why some people can easily endure the road, while for others, travel turns into a real test.

The sensory conflict theory says that people get sick because of our own balance system, which depends on more than one organ. What people see and feel is combined with information from the vestibular center located in the inner ear. All the information received helps the balance system to work correctly.

If the information from the human eyes, inner ear and touch do not match, this dissonance can cause a feeling of instability and loss of balance. Experts believe that seasickness is precisely the inconsistency of information received from different senses. The head and inner ear tell the body that it is moving when it is actually stationary.

The less sensory inconsistencies a person experiences on the road, the less motion sickness. For example, driving a car on a smooth, straight road causes less sensory discomfort than driving on a winding road with lots of potholes.

This theory is considered the most convincing, although scientists are still trying to figure out the brain mechanisms that cause motion sickness.

An alternative theory suggests that the problem lies in posture control. According to her, motion sickness occurs not only due to a mismatch of sensory information.

Added to the sensory dissonance is the inability to change body posture. Indeed, when traveling, it is far from always possible to move on your own feet. But this theory, according to scientists, has little evidence yet.

There can be too many reasons for motion sickness, but how well a person’s vision systems and vestibular center work affects his well-being on the road. Certain medical conditions, such as migraines or the inner ear (Ménière’s disease), increase the likelihood of motion sickness.

Symptoms are also affected by the age and gender of the person. Some studies show that the peak of the disease occurs at the age of 9-10 years and is most common in women.

Many people also say they don’t experience nausea while driving. Perhaps this is due to the fact that drivers better anticipate the movement of the vehicle and get more time to process information. At the same time, passengers receive information about the turn of the car already in the process of what is happening.

Scientists advise people who suffer from motion sickness to try to reduce inconsistencies in sensory information.

For example, it is forbidden to read or watch movies in the car, because this leads to a discrepancy between visual information and our sensations. Experts advise to look more out the window while driving.

This will reduce nausea because the visual information will be more consistent with data from the vestibular center. The same method will work on the water, as well as on the train – you need to focus on the passing landscapes.

In addition, experts recommend not to eat too much before the road, not to ventilate the car and not to make many stops.

If these tips are not enough, travelers are better off taking motion sickness medication. Medicines reduce activity in the balance part of the brain or reduce the signals the brain sends to the intestines, which stops nausea or vomiting.


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