Is YouTube a prescription for vertigo?

July 23, 2012

Watching videos on YouTube may be a new way to show the treatment for a common cause of vertigo, which often goes untreated by physicians, according to a study published in the July 24, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is an inner ear disorder that is a common cause of .

"This type of vertigo can be treated easily and quickly with a simple maneuver called the Epley maneuver, but too often the maneuver isn't used, and people are told to 'wait it out' or given drugs," said study author Kevin A. Kerber, MD, of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "We found that accurate demonstrations of the maneuver that and people with can use are readily available on YouTube."

For the study, Kerber and his colleagues searched YouTube for videos showing the Epley maneuver and rated their accuracy. They also reviewed the comments posted regarding the videos to see how the videos were used.

"It was good to see that the video with the most hits was the one developed by the American Academy of Neurology when it published its guideline recommending the use of the Epley maneuver in 2008 and then posted on YouTube by a lay person," Kerber said. "But it was also good that the majority of the videos demonstrated the maneuver accurately."

The video will load shortly

Some comments showed that health care providers are using the videos as a prescribed treatment or to help patients learn about the maneuver. People with dizziness also seem to be using the videos to treat themselves.

"One shortcoming of the videos was that they did not include information on how to diagnose BPPV, and some of the comments indicate that people who do not have BPPV may be trying these maneuvers because of dizziness from other causes," Kerber said. "Despite this, we found it encouraging to think that could be used to disseminate information about this maneuver and educate more people about how to treat this disorder." Kerber and his colleagues are currently working on projects to test the effectiveness of video interventions on patient outcomes.

The disorder is likely caused by loose calcium carbonate crystals that move in the sensing tubes of the inner ear. The moves the calcium crystals out of the sensing tube and into another inner chamber of the ear, where they do not cause symptoms.

Explore further: A comparison of two home exercises to treat vertigo

Related Stories

A comparison of two home exercises to treat vertigo

April 23, 2012

A CU School of Medicine researcher who suffers from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and had to "fix it" before she could go to work one day was using a maneuver to treat herself that only made her sicker. "So ...

Recommended for you

Researchers identify brain network organization changes

May 25, 2017

As children age into adolescence and on into young adulthood, they show dramatic improvements in their ability to control impulses, stay organized, and make decisions. Those executive functions of the brain are key factors ...

Fathers' brains respond differently to daughters than sons

May 25, 2017

Fathers with toddler daughters are more attentive and responsive to those daughters' needs than fathers with toddler sons are to the needs of those sons, according to brain scans and recordings of the parents' daily interactions ...

Scientists demonstrate the existence of 'social neurons'

May 25, 2017

The existence of new "social" neurons has just been demonstrated by scientists from the Institut de neurosciences des systèmes (Aix-Marseille University / INSERM), the Laboratoire de psychologie sociale et cognitive (Université ...

How fear can develop out of others' traumas

May 25, 2017

What happens in the brain when we see other people experiencing a trauma or being subjected to pain? Well, the same regions that are involved when we feel pain ourselves are also activated when we observe other people who ...

Babies' slow brain waves could predict problems

May 25, 2017

The brain waves of healthy newborns – which appear more abnormal than those of severe stroke victims – could be used to accurately predict which babies will have neurodevelopmental disorders.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.