Smartphone app to cure motion sickness soon

London, Sep 6: A new device or a mobile phone app that applies a small amount of electricity via a headphone jack could soon put an end to the misery of seasickness and other forms of motion nausea, say researchers.

The device which the researchers believe would be available within five to 10 years may make your journey on a cruise ship a lot more pleasant.

"We are confident that within five to 10 years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device," said lead researchers Qadeer Arshad from Imperial College London.

"It may be something like a machine that is used for back pain. We hope it might even integrate with a mobile phone, which would be able to deliver the small amount of electricity required via the headphone jack," Arshad said.

"In either case, you would temporarily attach small electrodes to your scalp before travelling -- on a cross channel ferry, for example," Arshad said.

The cause of motion sickness is still a mystery but a popular theory among scientists says it is to do with confusing messages received by our brains from both our ears and eyes, when we are moving.

It is a very common complaint and has the potential to affect all of us, meaning we get a bit queasy on boats or roller coasters.

However, around three in 10 people experience hard to bear motion sickness symptoms, such as dizziness, severe nausea, cold sweats, and more, the study said.

In the study, volunteers wore electrodes on their heads for about 10 minutes.

They were then asked to sit in a motorised rotating chair that also tilts to simulate the motions that tend to make people sick on boats or roller coasters.

Following the treatment, they were less likely to feel nauseous and they recovered more quickly.

"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," Michael Gresty, professor at Imperial College said.

The problem with current treatments for motion sickness is that the effective ones are usually tablets that also make people drowsy, Gresty said.

The findings appeared in the journal Neurology.


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