Could a mobile phone app cure travel sickness?

woman experiencing motion...
woman experiencing motion...

Motion sickness could be cured by a zap to the brain via a smartphone, scientists have discovered.

A study showed that the symptoms of car, sea and other types of motion sickness could be alleviated by a mild electrical current to calm the brain's puzzled motion sensors.

According to The Independent, a mobile phone app, which would deliver the current to the left side of the brain, could be available as an alternative to travel sickness tablets, in five to ten years.

See also: NASA to market a cure for travel sickness

Scientists say it would feel like a tingle and have a similar effect to the drugs, but without the drowsiness.

Whether travelling by car, boat or plane, motion sickness is believed to be due to mixed messages coming from the ears and eyes leaving the brain confused and causing nausea, dizziness and cold sweats.

Around one in three people suffer from severe motion sickness, which can be a major problem for ferry passengers or workers.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dr Qadeer Arshad from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "We are confident that within five to ten years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device.

See also: Woman permanently airsick after flight to Turkey - eight years ago

"It may be something like a tens 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 travelling - on a cross channel ferry, for example."

But Professor Chris Chambers, the head of brain stimulation at Cardiff University, told the BBC: "It would be irresponsible to conclude that this study provides anything more than very early evidence of a potential benefit.

"Until the findings are replicated in a large registered trial, I recommend that the public approach any claims about treatment benefits with a healthy scepticism."

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