VertigoFive Physician Scientists and the Quest for a Cure

VertigoFive Physician Scientists and the Quest for a Cure

Robert W. Baloh

Print publication date: Oct 2016

ISBN: 9780190600129

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is by far the most common cause of vertigo, and approximately one in five people will have it at some time during their lifetime. Sudden violent spells of vertigo are triggered by a change in position, such as turning over in bed, getting in and out of bed, bending down and straightening up, and extending the head back to look up. During an attack, both eyes oscillate in a characteristic pattern, called nystagmus. Indeed, understanding the mechanism for nystagmus production was key to developing a cure for BPPV. It is difficult to say who exactly deserves credit for discovery of the cure for BPPV, but as with most discoveries in medicine, there is a long list of contributors, each providing a small piece to the puzzle. To tell the story, this book focuses on five remarkable physician scientists who made key discoveries leading up to the cure for BPPV: Prosper Ménière (1799–1862), Josef Breuer (1842–1925), Robert Bárány (1876–1936), Charles Hallpike (1900–1979), and Harold Schuknecht (1917–1996). The final section brings the reader up to the present time, describing the contributions of recent investigators and our current approach to treating BPPV.