Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Plane Sickness Anatomy

To better understand motion sickness, it helps to understand the anatomy of the inner ear.

The inner ear contains the semi-circular canals, which also contain fluid and hair cells. The hair cells in the semi-circular canals sense the position of the body and send this information to the brain. This structure allows the body to maintain balance and equilibrium.

Anatomy examples:

  • Pinna: the cartilage and skin of the external ear
  • Ear canal: passageway that leads to the eardrum
  • Tympanic membrane: the eardrum
  • Ossicles: three tiny bones that vibrate when sound waves strike the eardrum
  • Inner ear, or labyrinth: includes the cochlea and semi-circular canals
  • Cochlea: contains fluid and hair cells
  • Semi-circular canals: contains fluid and hair cells

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Plane Sickness References
  1. Buckey JC, Alvarenga D, Cole B, Rigas JR. Chlorpheniramine for motion sickness. J Vestib Res. 2004;14(1):53-61. [15156097]
  2. Golding JF, Gresty MA. Motion sickness. Curr Opin Neurol. 2005 Feb;18(1):29-34. [15655399]
  3. Miller KE, Muth ER. Efficacy of acupressure and acustimulation bands for the prevention of motion sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Mar;75(3):227-34. [15018290]
  4. Spinks AB, Wasiak J, Villanueva EV, Bernath V. Scopolamine for preventing and treating motion sickness. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD002851. [15266468]
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