Saturday, 18 December 2010


Whilst I sympathise with Emma and know her famous story about Labyrinthitis, this disorder simply does not exist. There is no way to diagnose it or study it,  a hypothetical diagnosis which should exist at the bottom of the pile when there are much simpler and treatable explanations for Dizziness. It is a widely used explanation within the medical professional (especially in ENT/Physio circles) as a placeholder for people with Balance/Dizziness disorders who are desperate to have a diagnosis.

In vestibular neuritis, the virus that causes the infection is thought to be usually a member of the herpes family, the same group that causes cold sores in the mouth as well as a variety of other disorders (Arbusow et al, 2000). There is some controversy about this idea however, as there is little direct evidence for herpes infection (Matsuo, 1986). The varacella zoster virus (the cause of Ramsey Hunt) is also thought to be a common source of vestibular neuritis.

It is also thought that a similar syndrome indistinguishable from vestibular neuritis can be caused by loss of blood flow to the vestibular system (Fischer, 1967). However, present thought is that inflammation, presumably viral, is much more common than loss of blood flow. There are still some that disagree (Fattori et al. 2003) .

In labyrinthitis, it is thought that generally viruses cause the infection, but rarely labyrinthitis can be the result of a bacterial middle ear infection. While there are several different definitions of vestibular neuritis in the literature, with variable amounts of vertigo and hearing symptoms, we will use the definition of Silvoniemi (1988) who stated that the syndrome of vestibular neuritis is confined to the vestibular system. In vestibular neuritis, by definition, hearing is unaffected. In labyrinthitis, hearing may be reduced or distorted in tandem with vertigo.

These definitions are flawed -- they depend on clinical findings and imply anatomic localization that may not always be true. Recently evidence has been put forth that some patients with the clinical syndrome of "vestibular neuritis", anatomically may have lesions in the labyrinth (Murofushi et al, 2003). Although anatomic data is rarely available, if diagnostic technology improves in the future, we may need to change the definition of "vestibular neuritis".

About 5% of all dizziness (and perhaps 15% of all vertigo) is due to vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. It occurs in all age groups, but cases are rare in children.

Reading the article it is clear to me that these definitions are weak (alot of it is thoughts) and also that these could change (be disproved) in the future when diagnostic equipment can really identify the source (as the author says). I note also the low percentage of those attributed to these lose criteria. My point is that these are still to be proved theories and that I believe many people with dizziness are not getting the treatment they need because of them.

I personally believe and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that pyschological factors play a much important role in dizziness and that treatment of dizziness as a pyschiatric triggered disorder should be prioritised over treatment as an inner ear disorder based physical one.

The only people who believe in labyrinthitis are the medical untrained and the medical professionals willing to treat you on the basis of this phantom condition. Desperate people with Vestibular Disorders will pay anything for help, unfortunately this makes Labyrinthitis lucractive to many.

On this blog I will communicate my personal experiences of suffering from Dizziness, you might find my experiences useful, you might decide it's utter rubbish.

Google Labyrinthitis, the highest ranking site is Emma's site, which means the highest ranked knowledge on the internet of this disorder is a patients view of the symptoms. Dizzytimes perpetuate the myth of dizziness linked to labyrinthitis by promoting it even though it cannot be clinically proven and is known to affect less than 5% of dizzy patients.

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