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Meniere’s disease research

Meniere’s disease research in Australia

“Aussie bids to crack middle ear disease. Meniere’s Laboratory in Sydney Paves The Way for Research”


It’s time to pull the mysterious “dizzy terror” which afflicts at least 50,000 Australians out of medical science’s too hard basket, an Australian researcher says.

Dr Daniel Brown, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney’s Medical School, heads the world’s first research facility solely dedicated to finding the cause and a cure for Meniere’s Disease.

The debilitating condition of the middle ear has been baffling scientists since it was first described by French physician Prosper Meniere in 1861.

Its cause remains unclear – genetic, hormonal or even a viral trigger for fluid or pressure fluctuations within the body’s balancing mechanism, the middle ear – but its impact on sufferers is well known.

They experience sudden and recurring bouts of dizziness, each lasting up to 24 hours and accompanied by nausea and vomiting, with the first of these attacks usually occurring in a person’s mid-30s.

“Some people will get these attacks and will immediately drop to the floor and other people they can sense it is coming on,” Dr Brown, who heads the Meniere’s Laboratory, told AAP this week.

“Imagine being so dizzy that you have to call an ambulance and stay in hospital for a couple of days.

“… Or if you’ve ever had a big night out and then the room is spinning and you just want it to stop – well times that by 10.”

When a sufferer experienced one of these attacks, which they dub the “dizzy terror”, in public they may be dismissed by onlookers as simply being drunk.

Dr Brown said these attacks often occurred in clusters. Stress could bring on an attack as could a diet high in salt while sufferers would also experience worsening hearing and balance problems over time.

It was also common for sufferers to report feeling increasingly sensitive to certain sounds and changes in atmospheric pressure.

Sufferers could feel uncomfortable driving in a car with the window down while routine sounds could also have a “distressing” effect.

“When you have a complex hearing loss, your brain reorganises itself,” Dr Brown said.

“They’ll flush the toilet and say that sounds awful … it can have a high-pitched wheeling. It won’t sound right.”

Dr Brown said this all added up to a debilitating condition that was enough to force some sufferers out of the workforce.

While 50,000 Australians were diagnosed with the condition the total number of sufferers could be triple this as the condition was often confused for migraine or vertigo.

Diagnosing was also no guarantee of fixing the problem, Dr Brown said, as conventional treatments alleviate the dizzy spell but do not halt the decline in hearing or balance.

“Clinicians all know about it, and know of Meniere’s sufferers, but because they can’t really help them it gets put to the side,” Dr Brown said.

“People have been studying it for the last 100 years and they drop it because they think that’s old Meniere’s Disease, no one is ever going to come up with an explanation for that or come up with a cure.

“It’s done with – we can’t work it out.”

The Meniere’s Laboratory was established last year as the culmination of about eight years of fundraising by the Meniere’s Research Fund, a group formed by Australian sufferers.

Dr Brown’s work is now focused on trying to find an improved diagnostic test for identifying excess fluid in the ear and determining the effects of the resultant build-up of pressure.

Recent studies overseas had made some headway in understanding what a sufferer experienced at the height of a dizzy attack, he said, including a spike in sensitivity for the middle ear without temporary deafness.

Dr Brown said there was a growing global momentum behind the research effort, with the aim of pushing treatment to the next step.

“The you-beaut treatment would stop the attack and prevent the degeneration of hearing and balance,” he said.

“.. And that would be a god-send for these people, allowing them to get back on with their normal lives.

“These people are distraught with the fear of when one of these attacks is going to come on.”

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By Mike

I am the founder of Meniere's disease help and the website Menieres-Help.Com in addition to being the researcher and writer of Managing Meniere's disease and The Need for Balance.
I have a 25 year association with Meniere's, as a sufferer for 7 years and spending most of the years since supporting others with this condition and researching and writing about solutions to it. Feel free to email me at:

5 replies on “Meniere’s disease research”

Middle ear diseases continue to be misdiagnosed and overlooked particularly among the aged or those who have some sort of chronic ailment. Initial symptoms like a dizzy feeling or a feeling of being unbalanced are often regarded as some sort of “weakness” in the body allowing the problem to progress towards attaining dangerous proportions.

this is an usual topic but if so many Austrailians are being diagnosed with it, there definitley needs to be support with this cause to help it to be treated well and made more aware to others who may be going through this but not sure what it is.

It is heartening to read that research has commenced by Dr Brown. I have suffered from Menieres for the last three years. Recently my wife and I moved out of our bedroom which has a dampness and mould problem and my attacks have abated. I still remain on my low salt diet but I believe that mould could be a major factor to be considered in research on this disease.

11th Annual Meniere’s Disease & Trigeminal Neuralgia Symposium sponsored by on Saturday, June 18, 2011. 9 am, Academic Auditorium, Family Residency Center, 3291 Loma Vista Rd, Bldg. 340. Exams: 2 pm, Ventura Wellness Group, 1732 Palma Dr, Suite 104, Ventura, CA 93003. X-rays available at 1 pm at Grossman Imaging, 2705 Loma Vista Rd, Ventura, CA 93003. Call (616) 575-9990 or E-mail to register today. Doctors: $300, patients: $200, students or caregivers: $50. Seating is limited. Speakers available for radio, TV, magazine and newspaper interviews on Friday. Complimentary DVDs of last year’s seminar are available for $5 shipping and handling.
The keynote speaker, Michael Burcon, DC of Grand Rapids, MI has presented his Meniere’s research to more than 1,000 doctors of chiropractic at his research institute, Sherman College of Chiropractic and Palmer College of Chiropractic; and more than 1,000 Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeons at Cleveland Clinic, the Prosper Meniere Society in Austria, and the International Symposium on Meniere’s Disease at the House Ear Institute in California, and the Kyoto International Convention Center in Japan.
Dr. Burcon started researching Meniere’s disease (MD) eleven years ago after having three MD patients quickly recover from their vertigo under upper cervical specific chiropractic care. His papers have been published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research and the textbook, Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex, a Review of the Chiropractic and Medical Literature, by Kirk Ericksen in 2004.
Burcon has established a link between both Meniere’s disease and Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) with whiplash injuries that misalign the base of the skull with the top of the neck creating a lesion affecting the Eustachian tube and/or the Trigeminal ganglion. About half of these traumas are caused by vehicular traumas and the other half from injuries involving head trauma. Burcon believes that the correlation was not made because it takes an average of fifteen years from the time the patient was injured until the onset of symptoms.
Patients typically get diagnosed with MD or TN in middle age. Their injuries most often happened during high school or college years from a car accident, sports injury or fall on their heads. Few patients list these old injuries on their doctor’s admission paper work. In fact, they have often forgotten about them, believing they were not hurt if they were not admitted to the hospital.
Burcon has produced three Health Talk videos for GRTV. Copies of Health Talk are available free on DVD. For more information on Dr. Burcon’s Meniere’s research e-mail, call (616) 575-9990 or go to and

I think that some people don’t really pay attention to some of the symptoms they have. Quite often people are being misdiagnosed by medical professionals. Also, people should be made aware of this disease.

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