And now, a smartphone app to cure travel sickness

smartphone app to cure travel sickness

Motion sickness which can make the most pleasurable of journeys tortuous for millions of people across the globe could soon be a thing of the past. Researchers are now working on a smartphone app which could put an end to misery caused by all forms of motion sickness. The said app will work by applying a very mild electric current to the sufferer’s scalp via a headphone jack.

Almost 30percent people suffer from severe travel sickness which manifests in the form of symptoms like dizziness, cold sweats, severe nausea, etc. The proposed new treatment, which could take 5- 10 years to reach us could alleviate all of these to make traveling more pleasant.

“We are confident that within five to 10 years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device,” said Dr Qadeer Arshad from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, who led the research.

“It may be something like a machine that is used for back pain. We hope it might even integrate with a mobile phone, which would be able to deliver the small amount of electricity required via the headphone jack. In either case, you would temporarily attach small electrodes to your scalp before traveling — on a cross channel ferry, for example,” he added.

Surprisingly, scientists are still clueless about the causes of travel sickness. It is commonly believed that confusing messages received by the brain from both eyes and ears when we are moving could be the cause.

As a part of the study, volunteers were asked to sit on a motorized rotating chair which could tilt and simulate motions that induce travel sickness among people traveling in boats or roller coasters. These volunteers were less likely to experience the symptoms and also recovered faster after being given such mild jolts.

“We are really excited about the potential of this new treatment to provide an effective measure to prevent motion sickness with no apparent side effects,” Michael Gresty, professor at Imperial College said.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Neurology.