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What Is Vertigo? - Instant Egghead #67

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Vertigo is the feeling that you or your surroundings are moving, even when they're not. It can be caused by an infection, a migraine, a bonk on the head, or an amusement park ride. A rare condition known as Meniere's Disease produces periodic severe attacks that put its victims out of commission for a day or more. 00:11

  2. Located within your inner ear, the vestibular system is made up of three semicircular canals that detect rotation and two sac-like otolith organs that detect linear motion and tilt. When you move, so does a jelly-like substance inside each canal or sac, which moves hair cells on the surface of sensory cells. These cells transmit signals to the brain to help us orient ourselves, find our balance, and control our eyes so the world doesn't move whenever our heads turn. 00:33

  3. If the brain gets equal sensory input from both ears, it thinks you're still. If the input is greater from one side, the brain thinks you're turning toward that ear, so if one ear falls silent due to infection or another issue, the brain thinks you're tumbling the other way. 01:14