Vertigo: Five Physician Scientists and the Quest for a Cure
Robert W. Baloh
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 18, 2016)
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), the most common cause of vertigo, affects one in five people at some point during their lifetime, triggering the sudden feeling like one is moving or spinning when perfectly still. Early pieces of this medical puzzle appeared in the early 19th century in studies of the inner ear, yet the cause and cure for BPPV was not clearly understood until the late 20th century and it took a few more decades before this simple cure was accepted.
Vertigo: Five Physician Scientists and the Quest for a Cure follows this centuries long trek. The book follows the key discoveries made by Prosper Meniere (1799-1862) who first recognized that vertigo could originate from the inner ear, Josef Breuer (1842-1925) who conducted groundbreaking research on the inner ear during his evenings at home after he spent his days working in a busy private medical practice, Robert Barany (1876-1936) who received the Nobel Prize for his early work on the inner ear, Charles Hallpike (1900-1979) who showed that BPPV originates from the inner ear, and Harold Schuknecht (1917-1996) who provided key observations on the mechanism of BPPV.
Dr. Robert W. Baloh spins together a fascinating history using detailed interviews from those close to the key investigators and historical documents previously unavailable in the English language to provide a historical approach to understanding the vestibular system and with it a better understanding of vertigo itself.