Seafarers, Gaze at Horizon to Stay Steady01/30/11
SUNDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- It may not be news to those
who spend a lot of time at sea, but a new study reports that if
you're aboard a ship, looking at the horizon can help keep your
body stable, researchers say.
In the study, investigators compared a group of crew members as
they stood on land and aboard a ship and focused on something about
16 inches in front of them and then a far-off object -- a distant
mountain when standing on land or the horizon when standing on the
On land, the participants were steadier when they looked at a
nearby object and swayed more when they looked far away. On the
ship, they were steadier when they focused on the horizon, the
When on a ship, looking at the horizon may make you more stable
by helping you differentiate between the natural movement of your
body and the movement caused by the ship, explained Thomas A.
Stoffregen of the University of Minnesota. He has been studying
"body sway" -- how much a person's body moves in a back and forth
motion in various situations -- for decades.
The movement of a person's body may predict seasickness,
Stoffregen noted in the report published online and in the January
issue of the journal
"It's the people who become wobbly who subsequently become motion sick," he said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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