Seasick Woman Returns from Cruise with Chronic Condition

A woman who suffered from seasickness while on a cruise to Spain nine years ago has never recovered, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Jane Houghton from Warrington, Cheshire, Britain developed Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, a rare condition that causes the symptoms of seasickness—like nausea, lack of balance and extreme fatigue—to affect people even after returning to land. Houghton continues to suffer from the symptoms of seasickness since 2001.

"When I first got off the boat, we treated it as a bit of a laugh,” said Houghton. "After a couple of weeks, I started to get seriously worried. My doctor thought I could be suffering from motion sickness, and gave me tablets, but nothing helped.”

Houghton feared she could have a brain tumor, but an MRI scan showed nothing wrong. “When the results came back clear, I convinced myself I was going mad, to the point where I started feeling suicidal. My doctor was baffled,” she said.

Eventually, doctors from the National Hospital for Neurology in London diagnosed her rare condition, but they still haven’t been able to treat her. Houghton did balance exercises for months, but did not improve.

"It's a similar sensation to walking on a mattress or a trampoline. On a good day, it's like being on a calm sea, but when I get a bad day, I can barely stand,” Houghton said.

The world’s leading expert on Mal de Debarquement, professor Yoon-Hee cha, a neurologist from the University of California, said that he condition is under-recognized and has no cure.

"It can be devastating to the patients, usually women, who are often in the prime of their lives,” Cha said. Neurologists believe it is caused by an abnormality in the brain, but we will not know exactly what that abnormality is until we can fund and carry out further research."

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