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Responses in Skin Microcirculation to Vestibular Stimulation Before and During Motion Sickness

     Ognyan I Kolev, Claes Möller, Gert Nilsson and Lita Tibbling

Abstract:   Background: Observation of physiological changes during motion sickness is required to quantify the degree of sickness. The review of the literature does not show unifying results. An objective symptom of motion sickness is facial pallor. It reflects changes in skin microcirculation which have not been measured so far. Methods: Eleven healthy volunteers susceptible to motion sickness were subjected to eccentric vertical axis rotation. The dynamics and the correspondence of the changes in skin blood flow in two segments, forehead and finger, were measured by laser Doppler flowmeter. Results and Conclusions: The difference in the microcirculatory skin blood flow across the phases of motion sickness is significant for the forehead but not for the fingertip; the established dynamics of the forehead blood flow during motion sickness will be of benefit in quantifying the degree of sickness; there is no correlation between the blood flow changes in both measured areas; the rhythmic blood flow fluctuation increases during motion sickness; there is a difference between the blood flow responses to vestibular stimulation before the appearance of motion sickness and in the course of the sickness. Laser Doppler flowmetry is a reliable method in quantifying the degree of motion sickness.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1997; 24: 53-57


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