bims-madeba Biomed News
on Mal de débarquement syndrome
Issue of 2020‒02‒02
two papers selected by
Jun Maruta
Mount Sinai Health System

  1. Semin Neurol. 2020 Jan 27.
    Saha K, Cha YH.
      Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is a disorder of persistent vertigo characterized by a feeling of oscillation such as rocking, bobbing, or swaying. It is triggered by passive motion, typically by exposure to water, air, or land transportation. This syndrome affects middle-aged individuals who are predominantly women. MdDS presents as a balance disorder that carries significant risk of morbidity due to both the direct effects of balance impairment and associated symptoms of fatigue, cognitive slowing, and visual motion intolerance. The Barany Society will be publishing criteria for diagnosing persistent MdDS. In addition, more insight has been gained into the pathophysiology of MdDS, with current hypotheses pointing to a cerebral and cerebellar basis. Treatments have expanded beyond medication trials, and now include the use of noninvasive brain stimulation and readaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex.
  2. Front Neurol. 2019 ;10 1361
    Breinbauer HA, Contreras MD, Lira JP, Guevara C, Castillo L, Ruëdlinger K, Muñoz D, Delano PH.
      Objective: To determine whether performance in a virtual spatial navigational task is poorer in persistent postural perceptual dizziness (PPPD) patients than in healthy volunteers and patients suffering other vestibular disorders. Methods: Subjects were asked to perform three virtual Morris water maze spatial navigational tasks: (i) with a visible target, (ii) then with an invisible target and a fixed starting position, and finally (iii) with an invisible target and random initial position. Data were analyzed using the cumulative search error (CSE) index. Results: While all subjects performed equally well with a visible target, the patients with PPPD (n = 19) performed poorer (p < 0.004) in the invisible target/navigationally demanding tasks (CSE median of 8) than did the healthy controls (n = 18; CSE: 3) and vestibular controls (n = 19; CSE: 4). Navigational performance in the most challenging setting allowed us to discriminate PPPD patients from controls with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.83 (sensitivity 78.1%; specificity 83.3%). PPPD patients manifested more chaotic and disorganized search strategies, with more dispersion in the navigational pool than those of the non-PPPD groups (standard distance deviation of 0.97 vs. 0.46 in vestibular controls and 0.20 in healthy controls; p < 0.001). Conclusions: While all patients suffering a vestibular disorder had poorer navigational abilities than healthy controls did, patients with PPPD showed the worst performance, to the point that this variable allowed the discrimination of PPPD from non-PPPD patients. This distinct impairment in spatial navigation abilities offers new insights into PPPD pathophysiology and may also represent a new biomarker for diagnosing this entity.
    Keywords:  dizziness; functional dizziness; morris water maze; persistent postural perceptual dizziness; spatial navigation