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The OTOLITH Experiment - Assessment of Otolith Function During Postflight Re-adaptionThe ongoing "Otolith" experiment is designed to comprehensively assess the otolith function during the re-adaptation phase after spaceflight. The novel protocol includes unilateral testing of each of the two otolith organs the utricle and the saccule. To assess utricle function, the otolith-ocular response (OOR) and the subjective visual vertical (SVV) are measured during unilateral centrifugation, which permits independent stimulation of the right and left ear. Measurement of the unilateral otolith-ocular response (uOOR) yields information on the response behaviour of the right and left peripheral utricles, whereas the SVV reflects the behaviour of the entire pathway from the peripheral otolith receptors to the vestibular cortex. Thus, by comparative evaluation of the results from the two tests, the degree of peripheral versus central adaptation during the post-flight period can be determined. To assess unilateral saccule function, vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) are recorded. Since the saccules are predominantly aligned to gravity, and interplay with the antigravity muscles, it is hypothesised that these potentials shall be altered after spaceflight. To date the study has been conducted with 5 of a planned 8 short-flight Shuttle astronauts. Preliminary results will be discussed together with those from clinical studies of dizziness patients, where the same test protocol is employed. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This work is supported by the German Aerospace Center (Grant DLR W130729) and is conducted under the auspices of ESA, in cooperation with NASA.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Clarke, A. H. (Charite-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany)
Wood, S. J. (Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Schoenfeld, U. (Charite-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
ESA Life in Space for Life on Earth Symposium(Trieste)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits