Seasickness pathogenesis and the otolithic organs: Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials study - Preliminary results

Dror Tal, Peter Gilbey, Ronen Bar, Avi Shupak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Seasickness is thought to result from conflicting inputs from the vestibular, visual and somatosensory systems. The otolithic organs, which are responsible for the sensation of linear acceleration and tilt, are important in the pathogenesis of seasickness. The vestibular evoked myogenic potentials test is an objective evaluation of saccular function. Objective: To examine whether saccular function is related to the pathogenesis of seasickness. Methods: VEMP was performed in 10 subjects susceptible to seasickness and in 14 non-susceptible subjects. Results: Bilateral VEMP responses were obtained in 7 (50%) of the non-susceptible subjects and 1 (10%) of the susceptible subjects. No differences were found between the groups in P13 and N23 wave latencies, amplitudes, N13-1323 inter-peak latencies, and peak-to-peak asymmetry ratios. More subjects in the susceptible group had asymmetry ratios > 35%. Conclusions: The attenuated saccular response might be explained in the context of the neural-mismatch theory and/or the subjective vertical theory, as reflecting an adaptation effort to sea conditions. A larger study is necessary to determine whether a statistically significant difference in VEMP responses exisl between seasickness-susceptible and non-susceptible subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-644
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Motion sickness
  • Saccule
  • Vestibular function test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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