Mal de Débarquement Syndrome

Last Updated on Feb 21, 2019
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What is Mal de Débarquement Syndrome?

Hippocrates first noted some people developed motion imbalance soon after a sea voyage. In 1881, these symptoms were elaborated based on the drunken-like gait observed in sailors who got off the ship. In 1987, Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS) became recognized through a case series published by Brown and Baloh. The French term ‘mal de débarquement’ literally means the unpleasant or sick (mal) feeling that envelopes a person after disembarking (débarquement) from either a ship or a land vehicle or an airplane following a long journey. This is also called classic MdDS. Spontaneous MdDS occurs due to trauma, childbirth, or surgery.

Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS) is a rare neurological condition where the person experiences a feeling of strong motion (dizziness, swaying or rocking feeling) after a prolonged movement of passive motion. Symptoms can last either for less than 2 days (transient MdD – not a syndrome) or may persist for more than a month and extend for many years (persistent MdDS).

Middle-aged women over the age of 50 years are more prone to developing MdDS. Men are not as susceptible as women to MdDS. Those with MdDS are affected with stress, anxiety, and depression. As a result, their quality of life is reduced.

References:

  1. About Mal de debarquement syndrome - (https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/mal- de-debarquement/)
  2. New treatment successful for rare and disabling movement disorder, the mal de debarquement syndrome (MdDS). - (https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/2014/new-treatment-successful-for-rare-and-disabling-movement-disorder- the-mal-de-debarquement-syndrome-mdds)
  3. Ombergen AV, van Rompaey V, Maes LK, van de Heyning PH, Wuyts FL. Mal de debarquement syndrome: a systematic review. J Neurol. 2016; 263: 843-54.
  4. Schenk SM, Wagner JM, Miller JA, Lyons-White TM, Venn EC, April MD, et al. Treatment of mal de debarquement syndrome in a deployed environment. Military Med. 2018; 183(11-12): e775-e778.
  5. Dai M, Cohen B, Cho C, Shin S, Yakushin SB. Treatment of the mal de debarquement syndrome: A 1-year follow-up. Front Neurol. 2017; 8:175.
  6. Saha KC, Fife TD. Mal de debarquement syndrome: Review and proposed diagnostic criteria. Neurol Clin Pract. 2015; 5(3): 209-15.
  7. Cha YH, Cui YY, Baloh RW. Comprehensive clinical profile of mal de debarquement syndrome. Front Neurol. 2018; 9: 261.
  8. Cohen B, Yakushin SB, Cho C. Hypothesis: the vestibular and cerebellar basis of the mal de debarquement syndrome. Front Neurol. 2018; 9: 28.

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