A new study in ballerinas has found that practicing pirouettes can change the structure of the brain to prevent dizziness and improve balance. Scientists from Imperial College London hope that this finding will lead to new treatments for people who suffer from chronic dizziness.
The researchers scanned the brains of ballerinas spinning in a chair and contrasted the results with scans from a group of active women of similar fitness levels and age. They found that the ballerinas reported feeling significantly less dizzy than the other women after the chair stopped spinning. In addition, they noticed that the ballerinas’ cerebellums–the part of the brain that processes balance signals from the body–were smaller than the cerebellums of the control group. The researchers hypothesize that this is because the pirouette practice trains the brain to suppress feelings of dizziness, which shrinks the cerebellum.
To learn more, check out this in-depth article about the study from Medical News Today.