The misery of motion sickness could be ended within five to ten years thanks to a new treatment being developed by scientists.
The cause of motion sickness is still a mystery but a popular theory among scientists says it is to do with confusing messages received by our brains from both our ears and eyes, when we are moving.
It is a very common complaint and has the potential to affect all of us, meaning we get a bit queasy on boats or rollercoasters. However, around three in ten people experience hard-to-bear motion sickness symptoms, such as dizziness, severe nausea, cold sweats, and more.
We are confident that within five to ten years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device.
– Dr Qadeer Arshad
Research from Imperial College London, published today (4 September) in the journal Neurology, shows that a mild electrical current applied to the scalp can dampen responses in an area of the brain that is responsible for processing motion signals. Doing this helps the brain reduce the impact of the confusing inputs it is receiving and so prevents the problem that causes the symptoms of motion sickness.
This technique offers a safe and effective intervention that is likely to be available for anyone to buy, in the future.
Dr Qadeer Arshad from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London led the research. He said: “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.
“We hope it might even integrate with a mobile phone, which would be able to deliver the small amount of electricity required via the headphone jack. In either case, you would temporarily attach small electrodes to your scalp before travelling – on a cross channel ferry, for example.”