Reisekrankheit als Forschungsthema

Viele Menschen leiden an der Reisekrankheit. Kaum sie mit einem Schiff, einem Flugzeug oder mit dem Auto unterwegs, wird ihnen schlecht und der Urlaub kann keine Erholung bringen. Nun wird die Reisekrankheit zum Forschungsthema, weil bisher zu wenig über Ursachen und weitere Bedingungen der Reisekrankheit und ihrer Vermeidung bekannt ist.

Reisekrankheit als Forschungsthema
Reisekrankheit als Forschungsthema

Wenn es an die Urlaubsplanung geht, dann freuen sich die meisten Menschen. Doch beim Thema Reisekrankheit ist schnell zu spüren, dass es nicht für jeden so einfach ist, sich auf den Urlaub zu freuen. Denn Übelkeit auf dem Schiff, im Flugzeug oder im Auto sorgt bei vielen Menschen für Einschränkungen beim Beginn und im Verlauf einer Reise. Forscher der Uni Erlangen-Nürnberg wollen nun mit spektakulären Experimenten im Weltraum mehr Wissen über die Reisekrankheit bekommen.

Schon lange wird vermutet, dass Reisekrankheit mit dem Gleichgewichtszentrum im Ohr zusammenhängen könnte. Dieses wird bei einer Reise von vielen Informationen bestimmt, die nicht alle gleichzeitig sinnhaft verarbeitet werden können. Allerdings sollten diese Effekte dann für alle Lebewesen in gleicher Weise wirken, was offensichtlich nicht der Fall ist. Informationen, die im Gleichgewichtszentrum ankommen, werden offensichtlich auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise verarbeitet. Manchen hilft eine Placebo-Medikament weiter, um die Reisekrankheit zu vermeiden oder zu vermindern, andere verwenden Kaugummis oder viel Alkohol, um den Geist mit anderen Aufgaben zu beschäftigen, als zu beobachten, wie die Reisekrankheit langsam im Körper zunimmt. All diese Strategien können helfen, um der Reisekrankheit zu entgehen, unklar ist aber immer noch, wie die Zusammenhänge genau funktionieren.

Ob es da hilft, wenn man Fische ins Weltall schickt, um sie unter Schwerelosigkeit besonderen Bedingungen zu unterwerfen? Schließlich sind Menschen nicht wie Fische und Schwerelosigkeit ist auch nicht das prägende Merkmal, wenn Menschen sich auf eine Reise begeben. Allerdings werden nicht nur lernfähige Fische auf die Weltraumreise geschickt, um die Ursachen der Reisekrankheit zu bestimmen. Auch Algen sind an der Reise beteiligt; diese verfügen zwar nicht über herkömmliche Sinnesorgane, man kann aber trotzdem feststellen, dass sie sich verändern, wenn die Rahmenbedingungen sich in der Umwelt ändern. Allerdings war dies auch schon bekannt, bevor man die Algen in ein Raumschiff gesetzt hatte.

Interessant sind auch die Überlegungen der Reisekrankheits-Forscher zu den evolutionären Gründen für das Entstehen von Unwohlsein. Allgemein bekannt ist, dass manche Leute nicht nur auf einer Reise, sondern auch nach starkem Alkoholkonsum zum Unwohlsein neigen und sogar die aufgenommene Flüssigkeit und Nahrung erbrechen. Während Normalsterbliche das weniger wundert, dass ihr Körper mit viel Alkohol viele Probleme hat, sehen die Reisekrankheits-Spezialisten den Vorgang komplexer. Unwohlsein war beim Steinzeit-Menschen ein hilfreicher Hinweis darauf, dass die Nahrung vergiftet sein könnte. Darauf mit Erbrechen zu reagieren, ist also hilfreich fürs Überleben. Möglicherweise haben die Menschen, die häufig von Reisekrankheit betroffen sind, noch zu wenig Abstand von den steinzeitlichen Lernprogrammen gewonnen.

Bildnachweis: © Konstanze Gruber –

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