Seasickness on the Astrolabe: Characterization and evaluation of pharmacological countermeasures during turnaround missions.

Motion sickness is present in about 80% of the passengers during missions onboard the Astrolabe with sometimes a very significant risk of dehydration. Since the Astrolabe is a strong and reproducible stimulus triggering seasickness, and since seasickness is quite tricky to elicit in laboratory conditions, this is an ideal opportunity to deepen both the pathophysiological understanding of this phenomenon and a comparative study of countermeasures. The aim of the present project is thus twofold.

First, considering the excellent opportunity for field studies offered by the setting of the Astrolabe, we would like to target a descriptive study for a better understanding of the elicitation of motion sickness. This would include a quantification of psychological factors possibly influencing the occurrence of motion sickness, as well as an analysis of the type of movement from the ship, to uncover which axis of movement or what combination is the most provocative.

The second aim would be a comparative clinical study of available treatments. This target is quite ambitious, for we intend to study not only the most commonly applied available molecules, but also two new pharmacological treatments.

This study is performed in collaboration with Professor Pierre Denise and Dr Stéphane Besnard from the University of Caen (Unité de Recherche COMETE INSERM 1075) and Amaury Solignac from the group ICEBERG.

This project is funded by the French Polar Institute (IPEV) under grant 2013-1117.