Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear that occurs in response to an infection. Although many people think of it as a kids' disease, it's actually more common in adults. Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear which causes dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can also cause hearing impairment. The symptoms typically get worse as you move from place to place or shake your head.
While there is no cure for labyrinthitis, treatments have been developed to help with the symptoms. These treatments fall in two categories: those aimed at suppressing and those aimed at alleviating the symptoms of an attack.
Behavioral treatments aim to correct the posture and movement of the patient. For this reason, they can be used for both children and adults. Behavioral therapies work by improving the brain's ability to process information using a combination of visual, auditory, speech, and vestibular input. For example, if you sit up straight with your eyes closed you will fall asleep much more quickly than if you are reclining or standing up with your eyes open. Additionally, turning your head towards a loud noise reduces vertigo compared to looking away from it. The idea is to bring your body into a better position to process both visual and auditory input.
As a result of these therapies, most patients become symptom-free within five days. Behavioral therapies can help with all varieties of labyrinthitis.
Physical treatments also aim to control the balance system by adjusting the pressure on the fluid in the semicircular canals. In addition to these physical treatments, there is also a surgical procedure called Meniett treatment which involves making an incision in the eardrum and using suction tubing to reduce pressure on the fluid in the semicircular canals.
There are no known treatments for Labyrinthitis other than Tylenol to ease the discomfort of vertigo and anti-nausea medications to combat nausea, but new studies show that these treatments may not be as effective as previously thought in preventing or curing labyrinthitis.
Researchers in China have been researching new treatments for labyrinthitis. Their main goal is to create a drug capable of reducing the frequency of relapses in patients. The drugs they created were similar to anti-cancer drugs, but they were designed with a different mechanism than most anti-cancer drugs. The drug which showed the strongest results was a combination of three chemicals, which are all non-toxic and have already been patented by the Chinese research team. These three chemicals work together to destroy cancer cells by targeting microtubules, which is what keeps the cells together. The research team hopes that this same mechanism will be successful in destroying inflamed cells in the inner ear as well.
Currently, the team has not yet replicated their results in humans, but they hope to soon. They have yet to test their research in human trials with any specific patients as of yet. However, they have released information about the chemical components of their treatment, which will hopefully pave the way for future clinical trials.