Why Am I Feeling Sick?


| 3 Comments
I was driving towards Pittsburgh with my family to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins just this past weekend. It's about a two to three hour drive so I wanted to try to get some work done and be productive with my time. About ten minutes into the drive I started to get a headache and feel nausea. This isn't the first time this has happened to me, and every time I get so frustrated. I see my dad in the front seat reading the newspaper the whole trip and not being affected at all. So why and how did I get the unfortunate genes of not being able to do any work at all in the car? It's called motion sickness, which I'm sure many of you have heard of. As I started doing my research on the topic, I came across an article discussing experiments scienctists are doing to understand why motion sickness happens. In short, the researchers put their subjects in a room that simulated swaying back and forth. They put sensors on the subject's head to examine how "wobbly" their body movements were after they experienced the swaying. Some researchers debate this test because it's testing how people get that wobbly feeling and then the get sick. That goes against what you would think would make more sense, which would be people get sick and then you experience that wobbly feeling. Which order of feelings do you think makes more sense?Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 11.36.31 AM.png
There are, of course, other theories behind why someone could suffer from motion sickness. Perceptual differences has been tested to see its role in people how suffer from motion sickness. Dr. Stoffregen has done experiments with this, and his results show that movement plays a bigger role than perceptual differences. After putting his subjects through motion sickness tests, he saw that the people who suffered from it tended to move more often. Even when they were strapped to a stretcher, they still managed to wiggle their body. However, no where in the article does it mention that the subjects were randomly selected. It doesn't discuss age or gender either. One could assume that the subjects were randomly chosen but you really don't know for sure. So, my question for you is, would you believe Dr. Stoffregen's results?
If you prefer watching video rather than reading, click here to learn more about the idea that perceptual differences causes motion sickness. After watching this video, I find it pretty convincing that perceptual differences is the reason behind motion sickness, but what do you think? What other tests do you think could be done to either prove or disprove one of these theories?

Photo courtesy of ironshrink.com

3 Comments

I've actually always wondered what caused my motion sickness! I've had it for as long as I can remember but luckily for me my resistance to long, bumpy car rides has increased over time. Now, I only get sick when standing on moving vehicles, which is why I have adopted a wildly fierce attitude when it comes to finding a seat on a full Cata bus. I can actually believe that being fidgety might have something to do with it. Unlike my brother who never gets car sick, I find it hard to stay still. Perhaps I'll try to change this and see if it makes any difference.

I love how you brought this topic up. Just recently I was traveling back home to Philadelphia on the Megabus and I wanted to be productive as well, that fell short due to motion sickness. I began to light headed and nausea not even 10 minutes into my reading. I've always had motion sickness as a child but it seems to have gotten worse with age. Is there a particular reason for that? In this article they go more in depth about motion sickness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_sickness

I have the exact same problem! It's funny because my dad is the same way and he never has problems reading in the car. Luckily, I don't get as car sick as I did when I was little but this is so interesting how it actually works! I think more genetic tests should be done as well. I think it's probably something that could run in families as well. I think it's really interesting how it has a lot to do with your inner ears as well. I know as a kid, especially on planes my ears would cause me to get nauseous as well. Here are some tips for prevention as well as symptoms of motion sickness.
http://www.humanillnesses.com/original/Men-Os/Motion-Sickness.html

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