published on Thursday, 30 October 2014

I'm so excited, you guys, for this assignment! In one of my modules in school, PR for the digital era, we were given an assignment to plan and launch a campaign for a human-interest cause of our choice.  I chose Balance Disorders as people very close to me suffer from the ailment and not much is known to the man on the street about it!

Here's the link for the BDA campaign blog:

You can also follow and like us on Facebook
and twitter !

 I'll be sharing some of our posts on here! I promise it will be very enlightening and exciting too!

Here're a few details about balance disorders (for those of us, who have no idea what it is);

Balance disorders are conditions in which an individual doesn’t feel stable either while sitting, lying down, walking or doing any activity at all. A patient said; “…everything just spins and you feel as though you’re about to fall flat on your face”.

Balance disorders are characterized by confusion, blurry vision, feeling faint, dizziness and vertigo, thereby affecting the day to day activities of the sufferer. According to the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), “Balance disorders can be caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or the brain. A balance disorder can profoundly impact daily activities and cause psychological and emotional hardship.”

There are various types of balance disorders. They include; Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or positional vertigo, Labyrinthitis, Ménière's disease, Vestibular neuronitis, Perilymph fistula, Mal de Debarquement syndrome (MdDS), Superior canal dehiscence syndrome and Bilateral vestibulopathy. They all have similar symptoms but are quite different.

Diagnosis of balance disorders is known to be pretty challenging. This is because most GPs aren’t fully aware of the conditions and would probably suggest the sufferer see an otolaryngologist. An otolaryngologist is a specialist who specifies in diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, neck, and throat. The sufferer may then be asked to have a hearing examination, blood tests, a posturography, an electronystagmogram, or imaging studies of your head and brain.

Some people with a balance disorder may not be able to fully relieve their dizziness and will need to find ways to cope with it. A vestibular rehabilitation therapist can help you develop an individualized treatment plan.

Research has long been commenced in this field by scientists at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). They have been trying to:

1.      understand the different balance disorders.

2.      They are also working on understanding the relationships that exist between the labyrinth, other balance-sensing organs, and the brain.

3.      They are studying the disorders in relationship to changes that occur in aging, disease, and injury with the aid of animal studies.

4.      They are also studying the effectiveness of certain exercises as a treatment option.

5.      Studies of the genes essential to normal development and function in the vestibular system have also commenced.

6.       NIDCD scientists are also studying inherited syndromes of the brain that affect balance and coordination.

7.      The NIDCD supports research to develop new tests and refine current tests of balance and vestibular function. For example, NIDCD scientists have developed computer-controlled systems to measure eye movement and body position by stimulating specific parts of the vestibular and nervous systems.

8.      Other tests to determine disability, as well as new physical rehabilitation strategies, are under investigation in clinical and research settings. Scientists at the NIDCD hope that new data will help to develop strategies to prevent injury from falls, a common occurrence among people with balance disorders, particularly as they grow older.

9.      Other NIDCD-supported scientists are testing vestibular prostheses—miniature devices similar to cochlear implants—to regulate the function of balance organs in the inner ear and ease dizziness. One of these devices is currently being tested in human volunteers. The NIDCD is also funding other research projects to bring similar devices to clinical trials.