Researchers at Johns Hopkins identify area of brain that prevents dizziness
Part of right parietal cortex plays key role in upright perception, they say by Stephanie Desmon and Helen Jones
In a study reported in the journal Cerebral Cortex by Johns Hopkins researchers, lead author Amir Kheradmand states: "Our brain [right parietal cortex] has this amazing way of knowing where we are in space, whether we are upright or tilted at an angle, even if it is completely dark and we can't see anything around us..." Although disabling dizziness can be a symptom of damage to the inner ear or other senses such as vision, it may also stem from a brain disruption that incorrectly translates input coming from the inner ears about the pull of gravity and from the eyes about our visual sensations.
The results were obtained by using trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS ) to temporarily disable the right supramarginal gyrus known to trigger imballance in stroke victims. Kheradmand says the study's results raise the possibility that TMS could be used to treat chronic dizziness: "If we can disrupt upright perception in healthy people using TMS, it might also be possible to use TMS to fix dysfunction in the same location in people with dizziness and spatial disorientation."
According to Levinson, both the reported results and the TMS methodology offer amazing possibilities for future brain studies as well as for a wide range of therapies. To date, TMS has been approved for treating depression and has been recently found helpful in improving concentration in ADHD.
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Great Neck, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His "highly original" research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins and treatment of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Levinson's concepts encompass the collective insights derived from the examinations, follow-up and successful treatment of over 35,000 children, adults and even seniors and have led to new methods of screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. His expanded theories appear capable of encompassing and/or explaining all reported symptoms as well as most other concepts and experimental data, thus resulting in a truly holistic perspective.
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