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Overall concepts and aims

Vertigo and balance disorders are among the most common key symptoms in medicine. Despite this high prevalence, patients with vertigo often consult physicians of various disciplines (e.g., Neurology, Otolaryngology, Internal Medicine, Orthopedics) and undergo unnecessary diagnostic testing only to receive a false diagnosis and ineffective treatment. This situation results in substantial psychosocial harm and economic costs. The current unsatisfactory management of dizzy patients is due to the following deficits in academic medicine, medical training, and clinical research:

  • a narrow view of the symptom of vertigo due to the compartmentalization of clinical specializations;
  • non-uniform guidelines for diagnosis and therapy among the disciplines;
  • insufficient interdisciplinary cooperation among disciplines and basic and clinical scientists;
  • difficulty recruiting large-scale patient cohorts for clinical studies;
  •  failure to integrate experimental competence from the domains of engineering, computer scientists, psychosomatics, and quality of life research.


It is evident that these problems are also present in individual research and treatment institutions all over Europe and elsewhere. They can only be overcome by the concerted action of a network of institutions that integrate all professions working in the field of vertigo and balance research. By taking the following steps, the DIZZYNET aims to overcome these deficits and weaknesses:

  • create a platform for collaboration and exchange of basic researchers, clinical scientists, physicians, and physiotherapists;
  • improve multidisciplinary translational research;
  • cooperate with the leading societies to develop common standards in diagnostics, methods, and treatment;
  • internationalize the infrastructure for prospective multicenter clinical trials;
  • increase recruitment capacity for clinical trials by creating a common data base for patients with vertigo and balance disorders;
  • coordinate research on rare vestibular disorders by exchanging data and specimens;
  • set new foci on neglected aspects of vestibular research like rehabilitation, epidemiology, quality of life, and functioning;
  • offer and promote attractive educational and career paths within a network of cooperating institutions.

DIZZYNET can profitably build on the previous achievements of many centers all over Europe. However, it became clear at the founding meeting of the DIZZYNET that there is a common need to join forces to set up a platform to address these outstanding problems. DIZZYNET is not only a network of people, but also a network of topics and methods (Figure 3a). The participants at the founding meeting in 2014 formed the following working groups to identify the most pressing problems and questions, as well as to propose projects in the relevant fields:

  • Basic research
  • Clinical management and research
  • Clinical trials
  • Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology.

It is important to emphasize that DIZZYNET is not competing with other existing traditional national and international scientific societies. As an additional organization its goal is to correct some of the above structural deficits. Most of the founding members are also long-standing active members of several other societies like the Barany Society.