Diagnosis & Treatment

Many health care providers still do not know about MdDS. It is sometimes helpful to bring along a Foundation brochure, available in the Library or via request.

Presently, there are no tests that can provide a definitive diagnosis of MdDS. However, your doctor will probably want to rule out other disorders that may have similar symptoms. MdDS is primarily diagnosed using patient history (such as a recent boat, air or train travel or other motion experience) and the elimination of other disorders which may have similar symptoms.

There is no known cure for MdDS and the cause is unknown. It is common for test results to be entirely normal for people suffering with MdDS. Because of this, many patients commonly go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. Consult your physician to determine which tests are best for you. Tests used to exclude other disorders may include the following:

  • Neurological examination
  • ENG test (electronystagmography)
  • Rotary chair test
  • Caloric Stimulation
  • Audiogram
  • Blood tests (CBC, blood glucose, vitamin B12)
  • Blood tests for autoimmune disorders that may involve the ear
  • ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies)
  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
  • anti-microsomal antibodies
  • anti-cochlear antibodies
  • HLA-DR determinations
  • MRI of the brain and/or MRA of the brain stem and neck
  • ECOG – if hearing is abnormal
  • Posturography
  • High resolution cat scan to rule out small fistulas or superior canal dehiscence syndromes, especially if history of barotrauma.
  • Optokinetic after-nystagmus: scroll down to the “Additional Applications” section in Applications of the Rotational Chair

While there is no known cure for MdDS, some success in managing symptoms has been realized with medications and vestibular rehabilitation.

  • Most anticholinergeric medications that work for other forms of dizziness and motion sickness, such as meclizine or scopolamine, are not effective in either treatment or prevention of MdDS.
  • There is evidence that klonopin, benzodiazepines and amitriptyline may have beneficial effects in the treatment of MdDS.
  • Many patients have reported a benefit from vestibular therapy and exercise.
NOTE: In efforts to find relief of MdDS symptoms, alternative medications including herbal supplements have been tried by many. Little is known regarding the side-effects or toxicity of these compounds when either taken alone or in combination. However, the interactions of some of these compounds with prescribed drugs are well-recognized and caution is encouraged. Always consult your doctor before beginning any treatment.


  • There is no known clinical study regarding the prevention of MdDS. Medication such as with benzodiazepines might be tried prior to the motion experience if the disorder is related to inappropriate vestibular adaptation. For persons with a history of MdDS, it is suggested that they avoid further exposure to rocking motion experiences, as many patients have reported reoccurrences.
  • Members of the MdDS Support sites also suggest reducing stress and being well rested prior to travel. EarPlanes®, a type of ear plug found in most pharmacies, is also used by some members when flying. Refer to the How to Cope section for more tips on travel.
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