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"Stop the ride! Stop the ride!"
That's what I screamed while strapped in a spinning carnival ride with my sister when I was about 11 years old. It was the twists, drops and other scares of provocative motion that made me nauseous. I felt sick the rest of the night. After that experience, I couldn't step near a cyclonic ride for years.Most of us have a story of love or hate with carnival rides. Some love the sensation, while others like me, can't stand it. There are two theories on why we get dizzy from carnival rides. One idea is the toxin detector (which sounds like a state fair spectacle itself). It suggests that our bodies have a natural defense system to eliminate poisons. If the brain senses something is out of alignment, the innate response is to eliminate a possibly ingested toxin. So when our balance center and vision are twisted up in knots, the mind believes we've swallowed a poison and triggers the nausea response. That leads to vomiting if we can't talk ourselves out of it. The second theory has to do with signals that the balance center sends to the heart when we're turned upside down and flipped in circles. The balance center, called the vestibular system, sits deep inside each ear, closely tied to the brain. When we feel unusual motions, the brain goes on alert, telling the heart to pump faster and redirecting blood flow to vital organs. This system also tells the stomach to empty its contents so any effort of digestion won't distract from more important fight-or-flight responses. Regardless of the theories, you can still enjoy a day at the fair.
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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University of Nebraska Medical Center. "Why do people feel sick on carnival rides?." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 3 Sep. 2013. Web.
8 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265531>
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