Friday, October 30, 2009
Medical Reports: Back in Balance
It's a dizzying disorder! For people with vertigo, simply turning over in bed can throw them into a spin. In today's Healthcast, 7's Christine Cruz shows us how new treatments are helping patients get back in balance.
WSVN -- It doesn't take much to throw Judith's world off-balance.
Judith Uhl, Vertigo Patient: "At times, standing in front of the shelf and looking from top to bottom would set me off."
She is not alone.
Betty Austin, Vertigo Patient: '"The room just spins and spins and spins. Even when your eyes are closed, you can feel the room spinning."
For people with the balance disorder vertigo, even a simple trip to the grocery store can be a topsy-turvy experience!
Dr. Susan Whitney,Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist: "Go ahead and start out slowly there."
Researchers are now treating vertigo by forcing people to face their fears in a virtual world.
Dr. Susan Whitney: "There's the berry burst. Excellent. Find macaroni and cheese for me."
Dr. Susan Whitney: "It's similar to what some psychotherapists do for anxiety or panic disorder, that you expose somebody to more and more difficult situations."
And it's working. Six weeks of shopping in the virtual store eased dizziness for two thirds of patients.
Susan Dearden, Vertigo Patient: "It's wonderful. It's like I got my life back."
Betty Austin worked on her vertigo in what's called the dizzy chair .
Dr. Ian Purcell, Neurologist: "And here we go."
While she tips and turns special glasses are recording her eye movements which help doctors locate loose crystals in the inner ear a major cause of vertigo.
Dr. Ian Purcell: "There is a certain maneuver or path that I can vector the patient along to reposition those crystals."
When the crystals are moved back in place the vertigo stops.
Betty Austin: "The treatment is incredible and how well it works and how good you feel afterwards."
Two unique ways that stop the spinning and help patients land securely on their feet!
Doctors say while other conditions and medications can cause dizziness, true vertigo happens when patients become dizzy while lying down.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Pat Sparto, PhD
Susan Whitney, PhD
Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Tel: (412) 647-8069
Michael O'Leary, MD
San Diego, CA
Tel: (619) 229-4903