Nausea and vestibular dysfunction

Paris Guffey guffeyp at
Wed Apr 12 18:40:39 EST 1995

x011 at Lehigh.EDU wrote:
: In article <10APR95.21583693 at>, ljh at wri
: tes:
: >Any hypothesis as to why the dizziness significantly precedes the nausea
: >in most humans who drink that much alcohol? Just wondering.
: >  Lisa J. Harris


The dizziness is the effect of a differntial diffusion of alcohol through
the vesibular apparatus.  Inside the semicircular canals, there is a fluid
filled cavity.  The actual sensing organ that collects the information is
called the crista.  Alcohol diffuses through the crista at a higher rate
than through the rest of the semicircluar canals, therefore causing a
density change in the crista compared to the rest of the fluid in the

This difference in density causes hypersensitivity of the vestibular
apparatus, leading to an overcompensation of the body trying to right itself
and the characteristic drunk walk.

Paris Guffey
guffeyp at

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