The Munich researchers had already postulated several years ago that functional disorders may be caused by faulty processing of sensory stimuli. The team, headed by Prof. Nadine Lehnen, senior physician for psychosomatic medicine at the TUM University Hospital rechts der Isar, was able to bolster this hypothesis with the results of an experimental pilot study.
Eight patients with functional dizziness and eleven healthy subjects who served as a comparison group participated in the study. The researchers also used data from dizziness patients with organic defects who had previously taken part in the same experiment. Those patients had either a cerebellar disorder or a complete loss of functioning vestibular (equilibrium) nerves.
Experiment - Participants - Room - Points - Light
During the experiment, the participants sat in a dark room in which points of light were flashed in rapid succession on the wall left and right of gaze straight ahead. They were asked to look in the direction of the light points. Their eye and head movements during the gaze shifts were recorded. They were then fitted with a weighted helmet to alter the inertia of their head. This resulted in significant head wobbling. The experiment was performed with and without the helmet.
Whereas the healthy subjects quickly adapted their movements to the new circumstances and managed to stop their head from wobbling, all the subjects with functional dizziness found the task difficult to perform....
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