Medicine: Labyrinthine Way

To the sufferer, sidewalks sag, buildings wag. These are some of the symptoms that signal the onslaught of Meniere's disease, a recurring disorder of the inner ear that can in acute cases destroy the sense of balance and cause violent nausea, severe vertigo and progressive deafness. First recorded in detail by a 19th century French ear doctor, Prosper Meniere, the disease has been attributed to a variety of causes—cysts, tumors, allergy, arterial spasms, bacterial or viral infections, even psychological factors—and tends to disappear with the passage of time.

The worst victims are subject to terrifying sensations. Their arms and legs, like reflections...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!