NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Effects of Artificial Gravity and Bed Rest on Spatial Orientation and Balance ControlWhile the vestibular system should be well-adapted to bed rest (a condition it experiences approximately 8/24 hrs each day), questions remain regarding the degree to which repeated exposures to the unusual gravito-inertial force environment of a short-radius centrifuge might affect central processing of vestibular information used in spatial orientation and balance control. Should these functions be impaired by intermittent AG, its feasibility as a counter-measure would be diminished. We, therefore, examined the effects of AG on spatial orientation and balance control in 15 male volunteers before and after 21 days of 6 HDT bed rest (BR). Eight of the subjects were treated with daily 1hr AG exposures (2.5g at the feet; 1.0g at the heart) aboard a short radius (3m) centrifuge, while the other seven served as controls (C). Spatial orientation was assessed by measures of ocular counter-rolling (OCR; rotation of the eye about the line of sight, an otolith-mediated reflex) and subjective visual vertical (SVV; perception of the spatial upright). Both OCR and SVV measurements were made with the subject upright, lying on their left sides, and lying on their right sides. OCR was measured from binocular eye orientation recordings made while the subjects fixated for 10s on a point target directly in front of the face at a distance of 1 m. SVV was assessed by asking subjects (in the dark) to adjust to upright (using a handheld controller) the orientation of a luminous bar randomly perturbed (15) to either side of the vertical meridian. Balance control performance was assessed using a computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) protocol similar to that currently required for all returning crew members. During each session, the subjects completed a combination of trials of sensory organization test (SOT) 2 (eyes closed, fixed platform) and SOT 5 (eyes closed, sway-referenced platform) with and without static and dynamic pitch plane head movements (plus or minus 20 deg., dynamic paced by an audible tone at 0.33Hz). OCR and CDP performance were unaffected by BR and BR+AG; post-BR measures were unchanged from baseline for both AG and C groups. Similarly, BR did not affect SVV in the C group. However, BR+AG disrupted one measure of spatial orientation: SVV error was significantly increased on R+0 and R+1 following BR in the AG group. These results suggest a transient untoward effect on central vestibular processing may accompany repeated exposure to intermittent AG, a potential side-effect that should be studied more closely in future studies.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Paloski, William H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Moore, S. T.
(Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY, United States)
Feiveson, A. H.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Taylor, L. C.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
April 8, 2007
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Meeting Information
28th Annual International Gravitational Physiology Meeting(San Antonio, TX)
Distribution Limits

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available