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July 3, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(1):26-29. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680010026007

Vertigo is one of the most sudden and distressing symptoms that the human body experiences, yet the location of the cause is still obscure. This in part is due to the intermittent character of its manifestation, and in part to a lack of clarity of definition to the condition to which the patient applies the term vertigo, giddiness or dizziness. While we have been accustomed to regard the symptom as vague and lacking outline, the fact remains that it must be caused by a direct inhibition of the labyrinthine semicircular canals.

The term equilibrium, as applied to the condition of the body, whether at rest or in motion, indicates a state in which all the skeletal muscles are under control of nerve centers, so that they combine, when required, either to resist the effect of gravity or to execute some coordinated motion. The preservation of equilibrium is manifestly of fundamental