Motion Intolerance

Motion intolerance or motion sickness  is a significant public health problem that is debilitating when it is severe. Motion sickness symptoms are the reaction of autonomic system to the visual and vestibular (head rotation) disturbances. Motion sickness is usually treated with behavioral and pharmaceutical approaches. Behavioral therapy reduces motion sickness sensitivity by exposing subjects to stimuli that had caused stressful motion sickness. Over time subjects become habituated and sensitivity decreases. While effective in reducing motion sickness sensitivity, this approach is physically and mentally traumatic for the individuals. The pharmaceutical approach is primarily to suppress the symptoms and to provide temporary relief. To date, there is no intervention that reduces sensitivity to motion sickness in a non-traumatic way for long periods.Studies have shown that sensitivity to motion is directly related to a part of brain that responds to the motion (vestibular system). We have shown that motion sickness can be reduced if the duration of response is shortened by exposure to a mismatch of visual and vestibular stimuli. This treatment paradigm is lesser stressful than the usual behavioral treatment and lasts much longer (years) than drug intervention.


  1.  Dai, M., Raphan, T., Cohen, B. Prolonged reduction of motion sickness sensitivity. DOI: 10.1007, Exp Brain Res  2011 ;210(3-4):503-13 HIHMS: 309415 PMID: 21287155:
  2. Dai, M., Raphan, T., Cohen, B. Labyrinth lesions and motion sickness susceptibility, Exp Brain Res 2007, 178 (4) 477-87 PMC Journal PMID: 17256169
  3. Dai M, Raphan T, Cohen B (2009) Adaptation of the angular vestibulo-ocular reflex to head movements in rotating frames of reference. Exp Brain Res 195: 553-567
  4. Dai M, Sofroniou S, Kunin M, Raphan T, Cohen B (2010) Motion sickness induced by off-vertical axis rotation (OVAR). Exp Brain Res 204: 207-222