Imagine getting up from bed feeling like you are on a merry-go-round or in the middle of an earthquake. This is what top Australian batsman Steve Smith suffered from just before his second one-day match against India when he said that he had a "bad dose of vertigo." Vertigo is a sensation that people often describe as spinning, unsteadiness, or "chakkar." It is a common problem affecting about 5% of the population, roughly 60 million Indians. For many people, it can be a frequent and frightening problem.
Vertigo is not a disease in itself but a symptom that can occur due to diseases of the inner ear or brain. BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is one of the commonest causes of vertigo seen in people of all ages through the incidence increases with age.
The inner ear contains calcium carbonate crystals in an area called the utricle. BPPV occurs when these crystals called otoliths get dislodged into the fluid-filled semicircular canals of the inner ear. The word 'Otolith' is derived from 'oto' meaning ear and 'lith' meaning stone, so otolith literally stands for stones in the ear! BPPV is actually a mechanical disorder where the displaced crystals act like a piston and forcefully displace fluid within the inner ear during head movement.
NeuroEquilibrium is the world’s first chain of Vertigo and Balance clinics co-founded by Vertigo specialist Dr. Anita Bhandari, with over has over 125 centers in India. Dr. Bhandari runs one of the most advanced research laboratories for BPPV across the globe.
NeuroEquilibrium has developed software for three-dimensional visual simulation of the movement of the crystal during head movement in BPPV cases. The group has also developed a guidance system that helps the clinician achieve accurate head angulation during each step of the maneuver. The physicians are asked to match the orientation of the patient's head with that of the 3D humanoid at each step of the maneuver.
Dr. Anita Bhandari has written an interactive e-book on BPPV, which has been acclaimed across the world. The book talks about BPPV in detail, along with various new technologies that have been used to diagnose and manage BPPV. She says, "We get patients who have been admitted to ICU; some come on a stretcher. But after correct diagnosis followed by the therapeutic maneuver, patients can go back home walking with a smile on their face."