Greensborough, Melbourne, Australia – Monday, 8 October 2012 – A new study from McGill University in Canada has shed new light on the way the brain processes balance information. Dizziness is a common condition that affects 36% of Australians. In the elderly it makes a big contribution to falls, which are a major cause of death and ill health.
The study looked at how the brain processes information coming from the balance centres in the inner ear. Previously it was thought that the brain just read the constant stream of information coming from the ear, reacting to it. “We were able to show that the brain has developed this very sophisticated computational strategy to represent sudden changes in movement in order to generate quick accurate responses and maintain balance,” explained Prof. Cullen.1 In this way the brain can extract the correct information it needs most, thereby balancing the body more quickly in dangerous situations, such as in slippery conditions.
While this system helps us stay upright more easily, a breakdown in the brain processing could cause problems. Dr Matthew Holmes, a Chiropractor who focuses on the treatment of vertigo and dizziness disorders at the Eastern Brain Centre, commented “The role of the inner ear in vertigo and dizziness has been pretty well understood for several years now. What is exciting for dizziness and vertigo sufferers is the role of the brain. By treating the brain we can offer treatment approaches for individuals who previously were just told to live with it. This study furthers our understanding.”
Dr Holmes is available for comment on 03 9435 2887. Further information on the Eastern Brain Centre can be obtained at http://braincentre.com.au