If you suffer from migraines, then it is more likely you will feel dizziness and motion sickness while on a roller coaster.
A new study was published in online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology revealed that people who get migraine headaches experience more dizziness and motion sickness during the ups and downs of a virtual roller coaster ride in comparison to people who do not get migraine headaches.
Researchers also discovered more nerve cell activity in subjects with migraines during the virtual roller coaster ride and more limited activity in other areas. Researchers stated that this unusual processing of the visual motion stimuli in the brain was connected to migraine disability and is more prone to motion sickness.
Arne May, a Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg in Germany said, “millions of people frequently undergo painful and debilitating migraine headaches that can lessen their quality of life. People with migraines usually complain of dizziness, balance difficulties, and misperception of their body’s position in space during migraines”.
“By mimicking a virtual roller coaster ride, our study observed that some of these difficulties are accelerated in people who experience migraines and are also linked with changes in several areas of the brain. By identifying and pinpointing these changes, our research could drive to a better understanding of migraine which could, in turn, guide to the advancement of better treatments.” She added on.
How did researchers find out?
The study comprised 20 people with migraines versus 20 people without migraines. Participants of the study had an average age of 30, and more than 80 percent were women. People with migraines had a mean of four migraines per month.
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to acquire brain scans of every participant as they watched videos to feel the virtual roller coaster rides. None of the participants encountered a migraine throughout the virtual rides test. After the virtual rides, the participants were surveyed about their levels of dizziness, motion sickness, and additional symptoms.
The Research team discovered that 65 percent of people with migraines felt dizziness in comparison to 30 percent of people without migraines. There was also a survey regarding motion sickness, which marked symptom severity on a scale of 1-180, and it concluded that the people who suffered from migraines scored at 47, and people without migraines scored at a much lower number 24. People with migraines also experienced symptoms longer, an average of 1 minute and 19 seconds as opposed to an average of 27 seconds, and their symptoms were also more severe.
The researchers were able to recognize changes in nerve cell activity by the blood flow to particular areas with the help of brain scans. People with migraines had heightened activity in five areas of the brain: two areas in the occipital gyrus, the visual processing area of the brain, and reduced activity in two other areas of the middle frontal gyrus. The detected brain alterations were connected with migraines and motion sickness scores to conclude the result.
Another area of the brain where researchers observed articulated nerve cell activity in people with migraines was within the pontine nuclei, which assist to monitor movement and other motor activity. This heightened activity could compare to the abnormal release of visual, auditory, and sensory data in the brain.
The researchers suggest that future based research should look at larger samples of people with migraines to verify if this study’s findings are confrimed.