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Record 27 of 993
Circadian Entrainment, Sleep-Wake Regulation and Neurobehavioral Performance During Extended Duration Space Flight
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Author and Affiliation:
Czeisler, Charles A.
Abstract: Long-duration manned space flight requires crew members to maintain a high level of cognitive performance and vigilance while operating and monitoring sophisticated instrumentation. However, the reduction in the strength of environmental synchronizers in the space environment leads to misalignment of circadian phase among crew members, coupled with restricted time available to sleep, results in sleep deprivation and consequent deterioration of neurobehavioral function. Crew members are provided, and presently use, long-acting benzodiazepine hypnotics on board the current, relatively brief space shuttle missions to counteract such sleep disruption, a situation that is only likely to worsen during extended duration missions. Given the known carry-over effects of such compounds on daytime performance, together with the reduction in emergency readiness associated with their use at night, NASA has recognized the need to develop effective but safe countermeasures to allow crew members to obtain an adequate amount of sleep. Over the past eight years, we have successfully implemented a new technology for shuttle crew members involving bright light exposure during the pre-launch period to facilitate adaptation of the circadian timing system to the inversions of the sleep-wake schedule often required during dual shift missions. However for long duration space station missions it will be necessary to develop effective and attainable countermeasures that can be used chronically to optimize circadian entrainment. Our current research effort is to study the effects of light-dark cycles with reduced zeitgeber strength, such as are anticipated during long-duration space flight, on the entrainment of the endogenous circadian timing system and to study the effects of a countermeasure that consists of scheduled brief exposures to bright light on the human circadian timing system. The proposed studies are designed to address the following Specific Aims: (1) test the hypothesis that synchronization of the human circadian pacemaker will be disturbed in men and women by the reduction in LD cycle strength. (2) test the hypothesis that this disturbed circadian synchronization will result in the secretion of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin during the waking day, disturbed sleep, reduced growth hormone secretion, and impaired performance and daytime alertness; (3) as a countermeasure, test the hypothesis that brief daily exposures to bright light (10,000 lux) will reestablish normal entrained circadian phase, resulting in improved sleep consolidation, normalized sleep structure and endogenous growth hormone secretion and enhanced daytime performance. To date, we have carried out twelve experiments to address Hypotheses I and 2 and data analyses are in progress. The results of the current research may have important implications for the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome and shift-work dyssomnia, which are anticipated to have a high incidence and prevalence during extended duration space flight such as planned for the International Space Station and manned missions to Mars.
Publication Date: Sep 30, 1999
Document ID:
(Acquired Apr 14, 2000)
Document Type: Technical Report
Publication Information: National Space Biomedical Research Institute; B-33 - B-34; (SEE 20000029456)
Financial Sponsor: NASA Johnson Space Center; Houston, TX United States
Organization Source: Harvard Medical School; Boston, MA United States
Brigham and Women's Hospital; Boston, MA United States
Description: 2p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
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