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Huppert, Doreen; Grill, Eva and Brandt, Thomas (2019): Survey of motion sickness susceptibility in children and adolescents aged 3 months to 18 years. In: Journal of Neurology

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We conducted two representative, cross-sectional, population-based surveys on the susceptibility to motion sickness (MSS) in childhood: One was targeted at parents with children aged 6~months to 18~years (7569 households approached) and the other at parents with children aged 3~months to 5~years (12,720 households approached). In both surveys 3285 parents provided information on 5041 children. The main findings in the first survey were: 369 children (9.2%) were susceptible to motion sickness with a slight female preponderance, and in the second study 16 (1.2%) were susceptible; first occurrence of motion sickness (MS) below the age of 1~year was exceptionally rare (n = 2); if MS occurred after the age of 1~year it was more severe in the younger children, most pronounced between the age of 6 and 9~years; the frequency of MSS was highest in the range between the age of 4 and 13~years; in postpubertal children and adolescents MSS frequency declined. The course of MSS frequency from infancy to adolescence is an inverse U-shaped curve. It is characterised by three phases which may be related to the visual-vestibular mismatch theory, the major pathophysiological cause of MS. Phase one is a high resistance in the first year of life. In this phase infants may be less subject to visual-vestibular mismatch, because they do not yet use visual cues for self-motion perception. Phase two is a prepubertal peak. This is possibly due to an oversensitivity to a visual-vestibular mismatch, which reflects sensorimotor maturation. Phase three is a postpubertal decline. This can be explained by habituation through repetitive motion stimulation during various kinds of vehicle transportations.

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