Last Published:  03/26/21 03:33:57 PM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open
Previous studies have shown that the most profound deficits in postural control and locomotion (gross motor control) occur after gravitational transitions. Some of these deficits have been duplicated using spaceflight analogs (e.g., head down bedrest and dry immersion) suggesting the potential contribution of sensorimotor deconditioning, as well as other analogs (e.g., galvanic vestibular stimulation, sustained Gx centrifugation) suggesting potential vestibular contributions. While there is considerable intersubject variability, there is a clear effect of flight duration between short (Shuttle) and longer durations (6-month expeditions) on both the initial decrement and time course of recovery.

Research approach: The risk needs to be characterized relative to the following critical mission tasks: ability to stand upright without falling, ability to walk safely without tripping or stumbling, ability to quickly egress from a vehicle, etc.. Standardizing data collection across HRP Elements and cross-cutting projects will result in evidence-based standards that account for multiple contributing factors (e.g., changes in muscle strength, orthostatic intolerance and CNS due to radiation). Research should capture immediate post-flight decrements and temporal recovery on mission relevant functional tasks, including the effects of mission duration. Research is also needed to address how partial gravity environments will impact risk, either by reducing the magnitude of the G-transition, or directly impacting performance through changes in physiologic demands (e.g., changes in thresholds). Results/deliverables: Understanding effects of spaceflight on postural control and locomotion.
Target for Closure
Define the magnitude of change and time course of recovery, and how these impact critical mission tasks. Define how the risk (likelihood and severity) varies as a function of microgravity transit time, magnitude of G transition, and other contributing factors (prior experience, biomarkers, space radiation). Determine if there are behavioral, imaging or genetic biomarkers that relate to functional task performance following G-transitions.
Risk Risk of Impaired Control of Spacecraft/Associated Systems and Decreased Mobility Due to Vestibular/Sensorimotor Alterations Associated with Spaceflight
You are here! Gap SM-101: Characterize the effects of short and long-duration weightlessness, with and without deep-space radiation, on postural control and locomotion (gross motor control) after G transitions.

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