Why don’t dancers become dizzy? It’s not all because of spotting. Scientists have discovered differences in the brain structure of ballet dancers that may help them avoid feeling dizzy when they perform pirouettes, announced Medical Xpress based on a report in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
The research suggests that years of training can enable dancers to suppress signals from the balance organs in the inner ear, information which could help to improve treatment for patients with chronic dizziness.
Normally, the feeling of dizziness stems from the vestibular organs in the inner ear. These fluid-filled chambers sense rotation of the head through tiny hairs that sense the fluid moving. After turning around rapidly, the fluid continues to move, which can make you feel like you’re still spinning.
Ballet dancers can perform multiple pirouettes with little or no feeling of dizziness, and the findings show that feat isn’t connected to spotting. Researchers at Imperial College London recruited 29 female ballet dancers and 20 female rowers, all who were spun around in chairs in a dark room. The volunteers turned a handle in time with how quickly they felt like they were still spinning after they had stopped, and their eye reflexes were measured. In dancers, both the eye reflexes and their perception of spinning lasted a shorter time than in the rowers.
The results, according to Dr. Barry Seemungal from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, show that “ballet dancers seem to be able to train themselves not to get dizzy.”
To read the full story, visit http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-09-ballet-dancers-brains.html.