Mal de debarquement, marked by a constant swaying sensation, can follow a boat or plane trip: Research at UCLA seeks answers (excerpts)
Sonja Bjelland, Los Angeles Times, October 3, 2010
Amanda Coronado wakes up every morning wondering whether she'll be able to walk out of her bedroom.
It's almost impossible on a bad day. The world is moving too much for her to keep her balance.
"I can't just go for a run," she said. "I can hardly find my feet."
During the first week of August, Coronado took a cruise along the Mexican coast. Since stepping off the ship, that feeling of cresting, rolling waves has not gone away.
At first she thought it was funny. Then a few days after her return from the cruise, a migraine struck. The swaying sensation intensified, and she could not walk. An emergency room doctor said she had mal de debarquement syndrome, a condition marked by a constant swaying sensation that can last for months or years and has no cure.
When she walks down store aisles, she feels as though they are rising up to hit her. In the shower, she feels as though it might cave in on her. Looking at the ocean now is intolerable for the beach lover and Orange County native...
Looking up her symptoms online, Coronado found the MdDS Balance Disorder Foundation. She connected with its 1,200 online members and learned about the first federally funded research at UCLA... UCLA visiting assistant professor Dr. Yoon-Hee Cha is researching what happens in the brains of syndrome patients.
"It's like a normal phenomenon, but it's not normal for it to go on for a long time," she said. The syndrome most frequently occurs in people who have been on a boat or ship, but airplanes and long drives can also bring it on, Cha said...
Full article at http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-disembark-20101003,0,5113880.story
Presumably, this problem has been around for a long time: