Body and Brain Centre
Title: SEA-sickness: the spine, eyes and ears involvement in dizziness and nausea
Biography: Cassie Atkinson-Quinton
Balance is a fundamental function that humans share with less evolved animals. It forms aprimitive building block for our elaborate, humanistic skills, such as working through complex problems. The balance system is complex: proprioceptive, vestibular and visual inputs are collated and manipulated to give an internal representation of our world. If one of these systems is dysfunctional, it can cause chaos throughout the body, including chronic pain, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive decline. These delicate systems can be disrupted by chemical, physical and emotional perturbations. For example, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is increasingly being recognised by mainstream medicine, including as a cause of ataxia. There’s also increasing evidence for mild traumatic brain injuries and it’s involvement with vestibular dysfunction.
The function of each of these receptors and their collective processing can be assessed with physical examinations including visual inspection and simple bedside testing. More advanced tools, such as computerised dynamic posturography (computer balance assessments) and quantitative electroencephalograms (QEEG functional brain scans), can be used to further quantify and trackchanges in hyper- or hypo-functional areas of the brain and nervous system. These quantitative measures enhance our understanding of the “grey areas” in health concerns, such as chronic dizziness.