Recruitment for New Clinical Research Study

Yoon-Hee Cha, MD, is initiating a new clinical research study to examine the effects of rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) for the treatment of MdDS and is currently recruiting study participants as detailed below.


UCLA Research Study: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Mal de Débarquement Syndrome

A UCLA research study is investigating the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS), a balance disorder characterized by chronic rocking dizziness which usually follows prolonged exposure to passive motion such as on a boat, airplane, or car. Some people may develop the disorder spontaneously. The study is recruiting patients with MdDS ages 18 years and older. TMS is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation using a magnetic coil.

Eligibility includes: No metal implanted, except for dental fillings. No serious medical illness. Not taking tricyclic antidepressant or antipsychotic medications. No personal or family history of a seizure disorder. Not pregnant.

Participation will require undergoing a brief screening interview over the telephone to assess safety for TMS. If qualified to enter the study, study procedures will include 2 to 20 sessions of TMS performed at UCLA. Qualification for participation in each part of the study will be determined by the investigator.

Dr. Cha’s TMS study is a multi-phase study and is currently recruiting for Phase III. This is a double-blind, sham controlled trial for patients who have never been previously exposed to TMS. The goals of the study are to determine whether some of the early positive effects seen with TMS could be due to placebo effects and to increase the experience of TMS treatment for MdDS. A double-blind, placebo controlled trial is the gold standard of trial design.

The study will recruit 10 participants who have motiontriggered MdDS. Subjects with spontaneous onset MdDS will be recruited at a later time. The study involves 2 visits to UCLA that are each 1 week long. The visits can be completed during two of the following time blocks: September 915, November 11-17, or January 13-19, 2013. On the first day (which will always be a Sunday), participants will undergo a 30 minute MRI scan. TMS will then be performed Monday through Friday. There will be a 30 minute MRI at the end either that Friday afternoon or the following Saturday morning. Each day of TMS will be 1 hour of TMS followed by a 1 hour postTMS observation period.

A diary will be kept starting 1 week prior to participating, for 1 week during the sessions, and for 4 weeks after TMS is completed. During one of the two weeks of participation, subjects will receive real TMS. The other week will be sham TMS. However, neither the participant nor Dr. Cha will know which week will be real and which will be sham. This design ensures that everyone in the trial will at least get real TMS for one of the weeks but will not have knowledge of the treatment schedule.

The study will pay $25 an hour for time spent in MRI and undergoing TMS but cannot reimburse for travel expenses or time spent on the diaries.

If you may be interested, please send Dr. Cha an email at yhcha(at) She will arrange a phone interview with you that will be about an hour-long to answer questions about the study and identify the most appropriate participants. Please do NOT call the 310-825-5759 number as she is no longer available at that number. Thank you.