Researchers at the Imperial College London developed a treatment that they claim can end the symptoms of motion sickness. They plan to make it available to the public in five to ten years from now, as well as integrate it in mobile devices.
The team, led by Dr. Qadeer Arshad from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, created electrodes that can be attached to the head. This electricity, produced by the electrodes, stimulates the part of the brain that is responsible for processing motion signals. The brain stimulation helps reduce the symptoms of motion sickness.
In order to test the effectiveness of the treatment, the researchers recruited 20 people who were asked to sit in a motorized rotating chair that also tilts to trigger motion sickness. The treatment seemed to delay the onset of motion sickness by 207 seconds compared to those who were under the placebo. They were also faster to recover from the symptoms, according to HealthDay News.
"The problem with treatments for motion sickness is that the effective ones are usually tablets that also make people drowsy. That's all very well if you are on a short journey or a passenger, but what about if you work on a cruise ship and need to deal with motion sickness whilst continuing to work?" Professor Michael Gresty, study co-author from Imperial College, said in a press release.
"We are really excited about the potential of this new treatment to provide an effective measure to prevent motion sickness with no apparent side effects. The benefits that we saw are very close to the effects we see with the best travel sickness medications available."
The researchers are currently looking for partners that could help them develop a technology that would allow mobile devices to send electricity to the brain for instant relief from motion sickness. The technology would be beneficial especially to the military, who are controlling drones and are often experiencing motion sickness.
"From other studies, we also have evidence that stimulating the brain in this way can enhance attention and concentration. This aspect is of great interest to the military and we imagine that other groups such as students and people who spend long periods playing computer games will also want to try it out," Dr. Arshad said in the news release.
The study was published in the Sept 4 issue of the journal Neurology.