Exploring the pathophysiology of Mal de Debarquement
Journal of Neurology, June 2011, Volume 258, Issue 6, pp 1166–1168
Letter to the Editors
Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) is a disorder of perceived motion most often occurring following a cruise. We report findings from a patient with MdDS who underwent a transcranial magnetic stimulation protocol to quantify cortical excitability. These data were compared to those from 40 controls. The patient with MdDS exhibited high levels of intracortical facilitation. These findings will provide insight on the pathophysiology of MdDS, and will help guide future work on this rare condition.
Mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS) occurs when habituation to passive background movement becomes resistant to readaptation to stable conditions and results in a phantom perception of self-motion. MdDS typically disappears quickly after return to stable ground; however, in rare instances the symptoms may persist for months to years (persistent MdDS). While the etiology of persistent MdDS is poorly understood, it does not appear to originate from vestibular dysfunction as vestibular tests are normal and the symptoms do not respond to vestibular therapy . Rather, MdDS appears to be a disorder of neuroplasticity and sensory rearrangement . To our knowledge, there have been no studies examining the neurophysiologic characteristics of the disorder. In this case study we report findings from a patient with persistent MdDS who underwent an extensive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) protocol to quantify motor cortical excitability.
Keywords: dizziness with headache, perception of self-motion, Migraine, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Motor Evoke Potential, Cortical Excitability
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